Monthly Archives: July 2020

Your Professional Obligation Not to Overlook the MPRE

While the MPRE, or Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, is the smaller and less grueling of the two exams required for admission to the bar in Arizona and most other states, failure to respect its significance can cost you valuable time.

The MPRE is administered only three times per year, in spring, summer, and fall, so students who miss the minimum 85 score required to pass in Arizona could face a long wait to retake it. And the spring and fall exams can become a burden in the middle of a law school semester. To help you avoid this potential speedbump, the Ross-Blakley Law Library has updated its Bar Exam and MPRE Resources Library Guide to highlight MPRE study resources and exam preparation courses.  

In addition to valuable resources in the print Study Skills collection on the third floor in front of the circulation desk, the library subscribes to online study resources to help you master legal ethics. Wolters Kluwer offers Strategies and Tactics for the MPRE, which provides tips and dozens of practice questions to help you prepare for the two-hour MPRE, which includes sixty multiple choice questions. West Academic, for its part, offers an efficient resource for last minute MPRE preppers, The Weekend MPRE, which includes two full length practice exams.

For students seeking more depth in their knowledge pool of professional responsibility, CALI offers a series of lessons highlighting specific issues arising under the law governing lawyers. Wolters Kluwer, in addition, provides detailed guidance in solving legal ethical problems in Examples & Explanations: Professional Responsibility.

For perhaps a preview of the bar exam preparation course to follow, a number of exam preparation companies offer free MPRE preparation courses (see box at top right). Finally, we have compiled Web resources including the full texts of the rules and commentary governing attorney and judicial conduct, as well as resources offering valuable advice on study and exam taking skills.

For additional help choosing materials to prepare for the MPRE, the bar exam, or law school exams or research projects in general, please Meet with a Librarian.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Bluebook 21: The Most (Foot)Noteworthy Updates

Despite its spiral binding, the Bluebook is not known for flexibility.

It’s A Uniform System of Citation, and that uniformity means usually requires demanding attention to detail and rigidity. For a long time, legal writers had to turn to their well worn Rule 1.4 to check out the order of authorities for their string citations. It always followed a strict pattern roughly approximating the persuasive weight of the source material, from constitutions at the front end to secondary sources at the back end, with books always preceding periodicals, student written journal pieces always following professional works, and websites always bringing up the rear.

The new 21st Edition of the Bluebook gives us a rest. One of the big changes in the new citation manual is a major simplification of Rule 1.4. Now legal writers simply use their judgment and prioritize the most relevant materials in a string citation.

We are staying on top of these changes at the Law Library so we can help you produce the best, most up to date footnotes and citation sentences. We can also suggest study materials and online lessons to help you bring your citation A-game.

In other modernizations, the Bluebook is opening up to online resources, as Rule 12.3 has shifted to more readily accept unofficial federal codes from Westlaw or Lexis. Rule 12.5(b) follows suit, welcoming more online state and municipal codes into legal citations. And we no longer need to determine the release date of the last print edition of the United States Code: Rule 12.3.2 eliminates the date parenthetical from federal code citations.

International lawyers and students also have a wider range of online materials at their disposal, as Rule 21 now acknowledges the wider availability of treaties and other international materials. And in an increasingly visual online world, Rule 18.8 gives photographers and other visual artists their due, providing more concrete guidance on citing photos and graphics.

In a move that journal editors will cheer when they’re cite checking, Bluebook no longer includes separate tables for abbreviations in case names and common words in periodical titles: All of that information is now in the expanded Table 6, with Table 13 continuing to provide abbreviations of institutions such as universities and law schools.

The Bluepages have a few updates as well, with updates to Bluepages Table 2 to keep up with rules changes in various jurisdictions. And if you are practicing in a jurisdiction that limits the number of words that can appear in a document, the new Rule B6 provides a welcome change, providing the option to close spaces in the abbreviations of case reporters to conserve space, like so: F.Supp.2d.

And those changes are just some of the highlights to the new Bluebook, which also omits the bulky Table 2 on foreign materials from the print edition and places it on the website for free access.

Whether you’re adding footnotes to your graduate writing requirement or crafting a memo for your externship, the reference librarians are here to help. Feel free to make an appointment to meet with us via Zoom. For simpler questions, email us!

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian