Attention MPRE Takers: Here are a few ABA Model Rule Changes to Be Aware Of!
The Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) tests the American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rules. In August 2018, theses rule changed just slightly! Any changes to the ABA model rules are fair game to be tested one year after they take effect. So the August 2019 MPRE will be the first MPRE that could potentially test these ABA Model Rule changes.
They are relatively minor changes but it is worth it to be aware of these MPRE changes, particularly if you are studying from an old MPRE outline or using older MPRE questions.
- ABA Model Rule 7.3 changed to add the definition of solicitation. It also changed the language of the rule to state: lawyers shall not solicit by live person-to-person contact if the lawyer’s motive is pecuniary gain (unless an exception applies, discussed next). The rule used to state “in-person, live telephone or real time contact.”
- Additionally, under ABA Model Rule 7.3, now lawyers can solicit not only other lawyers, family/friends, people they have prior profession/business relationships with but also any person who routinely uses for business purposes the types of services offered by the lawyer. The comment to this rule states: “A person who routinely uses for business purposes the type of legal services offered by the lawyer are persons who routinely hire outside counsel to represent the entity, entrepreneurs who regularly engage business, employment law or intellectual property lawyers, small business proprietors who routinely hire lawyers for lease or contract issues and other people who routinely retain lawyers for business transactions or formations.” The American Bar Association technically broadened this rule and the theory is that there shouldn’t be overreaching with soliciting these people because they are familiar with the legal services being solicited.
- The portion of ABA Model Rule 7.3 that required letters sent by attorneys to be marked as “advertising material” has been deleted.
- ABA Model Rule 7.2 (b)(5) was added. This says that a lawyer may give nominal gifts as an expression of appreciation that are neither intended nor reasonably expected to be a form of compensation for recommending a lawyer’s services. The comment to this additional rule says that these nominal gifts may be to a person who recommends the attorney or refers a prospective client. “The gift cannot be more than a token item as might be given for holidays or other ordinary social hospitality. A gift is prohibited if offered or given in consideration of any promise, agreement or understanding that such a gift would be forthcoming or that referrals would be made or encouraged in the future.”
There have been some other minor changes to the ABA Model Rules. For example, the comments have changed to clarify certain rules or the ABA has slightly rearranged rules to move them from one section to another. The important changes have been noted above.
As a side note, our outlines and course lectures have been updated to incorporate these ABA Model Rule changes!
Good luck studying for the MPRE!
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