MPT Formats: Attack Outlines For Each Type Of MPT

MPT Formats: Attack Outlines For Each Type Of MPT: Most states that administer the bar exam administer the multistate performance test (or “MPT”). In this post, we do all of the following:

  • We tell you what the MPT is
  • We give you the MPT formats and MPT attack outlines “without the fluff”
  • We give you the same MPT formats and attack outlines with more explanations and examples.

MPT Formats: Attack Outlines For Each Type Of MPT

What is the “MPT”?

Just as a brief overview of what an MPT is. An MPT will have the following parts:

  • A task memo. This will tell you exactly what to do. You should read it right away in the beginning and constantly refer to it to make sure you are following instructions!
  • A file. This will contain various documents that show the facts of the case. It will sometimes have letters, deposition transcripts, client interviews, etc. Not all facts will be relevant and some documents may have facts that appear to contradict one another (just like in real life!)
  • A library. This will contain cases, statutes, or both with the relevant law that you need to answer the question. Not all law will be relevant. So, your job is to pull out the important law, given the facts you are provided.

You will have two MPTs if you are in a Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) state. So, you should allocate 90 minutes to each MPT. Make sure to keep track of timing as one of the biggest reasons students struggle on the MPT is that they run out of time!

MPT Formats – Attack Outlines

Here are the MPT tasks you could encounter and the MPT formats that generally go with each. We have ranked them from most to least popular. If you want to see when each MPT type was tested, please see our MPT chart here.

Note: You should always follow what the task memo tells you to do! And you should always read the task memo carefully!! This is just general advice based on what the task memo generally instructs!

Objective Memo:

  • Caption (date/who it is from/who it is written to/matter)
  • Introduction
  • Discussion (with headings to discuss each issue. Follow Rule/Analysis/Conclusion after each heading.)
  • Conclusion (summarize discussion)

Persuasive Brief:

  • Statement of the Case (identify the parties, the nature of the case, the issue in dispute, what “stage” the case is in – e.g. discovery, on appeal, and the requested relief)
  • Statement of Facts (if the task memo asks you to include one)
  • Legal argument (with headings to separate each argument. Headings should be complete sentences with strong conclusions. Follow Rule/Analysis/Conclusion after each heading.)
  • Conclusion

Demand Letter:

  • Caption (date/who it is from/who it is written to/matter)
  • Introductory Paragraph (briefly explain the purpose of the letter and who the sender is)
  • Body of the Letter
    • Heading 1 (you do not need complete sentences. Follow IRAC but make sure to explain the legal issues/concepts)
    • Heading 2
    • Heading 3 . . .
  • Conclusion (be specific about your demand and sign your letter consistent with who the task memo says you are – e.g. Examinee, Managing Partner)

Opinion Letter:

  • Caption (date/who it is from/who it is written to/matter)
  • Introductory Paragraph (briefly explain the purpose of the letter and who the sender is)
  • Body of the Letter
    • Heading 1 (you do not need complete sentences. Follow IRAC but make sure to explain the legal issues/concepts)
    • Heading 2
    • Heading 3 . . .
  • Conclusion (and sign your letter consistent with who the task memo says you are – e.g. Examinee, Managing Partner)

Unusual MPT Task:

Take a deep breath! Pay close attention to the task memo – usually you will still be using IRAC!

MPT Formats – Attack Outlines for Each Type of MPT with Explanations

Here, we go through the formats again – but with more explanations and tips!

Objective Memo:

This is the most popular MPT task! The point is to be objective – that is, not to “advocate” for one side, but to point out both strengths and weaknesses of a case.

For an objective memo you will need:

  • Caption (date/who it is from/who it is written to/matter)
  • Introduction
  • Discussion (with headings to discuss each issue. Follow Rule/Analysis/Conclusion after each heading.)
  • Conclusion (summarize discussion)

Usually, you are asked to omit a statement of facts. However, if the task memo instructs you to include one, then include one in about 5-7 sentences. For more detail on how to format an objective memo, see this post. For a breakdown on how to write an objective memo on the MPT, see this post.

To see a sample student answer of an objective memorandum, see a sample student answer for MPT 1 from the Georgia Office of Bar Admissions website here (you will have to scroll down about ¾ of the page). You can see the July 2016 question here.

Persuasive Brief:

Another very popular MPT task is the persuasive brief. This is meant to advocate for a client! Generally, you will want to only include a caption, statement of the case or statement of the facts if the instructions tell you. Otherwise, your format will look like this:

  • Statement of the Case (identify the parties, the nature of the case, the issue in dispute, what “stage” the case is in – e.g. discovery, on appeal, and the requested relief)
  • Statement of the facts (if asked for)
  • Legal argument (with headings to separate each argument. Headings should be complete sentences with strong conclusions. Follow Rule/Analysis/Conclusion after each heading.)
  • Conclusion

In a persuasive brief, you want to advocate! So you should emphasize the facts from the library that weigh in your client’s favor. However, you should not gloss over “bad” facts – instead state why they are not relevant or why they are not so bad for your case. Do not feel as though you have to give the same amount of discussion to each issue, though you will want to address each issue.

Read this post for more detail on how to format a persuasive brief on the MPT. If you struggle with the persuasive brief, we have tips on how to improve your persuasive brief here.

To see a sample student answer of a persuasive brief, see a sample student answer for MPT 2 from the Georgia Office of Bar Admissions website here (you will have to scroll down about ¾ of the page). You can see the July 2016 question here.

Demand Letter:

A demand letter is the next most popular MPT task you will see (though it is nowhere near as popular as the persuasive brief or objective memo). If you are asked to write a demand letter, you will likely include the following structure (but don’t include the headings “caption”, “introductory paragraph” “body” “conclusion” – just follow this structure):

  • Caption (date/who it is from/who it is written to/matter)
  • Introductory Paragraph (briefly explain the purpose of the letter and who the sender is)
  • Body of the Letter
    • Heading 1 (you do not need complete sentences. Follow IRAC but make sure to explain the legal issues/concepts)
    • Heading 2
    • Heading 3 . . .
  • Conclusion (be specific about your demand and sign your letter consistent with who the task memo says you are – e.g. Examinee, Managing Partner)

For a demand letter, you want to be persuasive but not confrontational. Your conclusion should be very specific about what you are asking the recipient to do. Also, make sure your conclusion is consistent with the rest of your letter.  Note that sometimes you will be asked to include a statement of facts as well.

For more information on how to form a demand letter on the MPT, see this post. For more demand letter tips, see this post. To see a demand letter question, see MPT #1 of the February 2015 question here and sample student answers here (scroll down at least ¾ of the way).

Opinion Letter:

Next in line is the opinion letter. The opinion letter sometimes varies in terms of telling you what to do or how to format your letter.

This follows the same format as the demand letter as generally you will structure your letter as follows (but don’t include the headings “caption”, “introductory paragraph” “body” “conclusion” – just follow this structure):

  • Caption (date/who it is from/who it is written to/matter)
  • Introductory Paragraph (briefly explain the purpose of the letter and who the sender is)
  • Body of the Letter
    • Heading 1 (you do not need complete sentences. Follow IRAC but make sure to explain the legal issues/concepts)
    • Heading 2
    • Heading 3 . . .
  • Conclusion (and sign your letter consistent with who the task memo says you are – e.g. Examinee, Managing Partner)

Sometimes you will asked to include a statement of the facts as well. Read this post for more tips on how to write an opinion letter. And see an example of an opinion letter format here.

To see sample answers for an opinion letter, see both July 2015 MPT questions here and sample student answers here (scroll down to the end of the page).

Unusual MPT Task

If you see an unusual task on the MPT – e.g. a bench memo (which was tested in February 2017 and July 2012 and you can read about the bench memo here if you are particularly worried about it coming up!), “leave behind” legislation, a complaint, closing argument, dispute resolution statement, etc. – take a deep breath!

The key to these tasks is to pay close attention to the task memo! It will tell you exactly what to do. The format may be slightly different than what you are used to but your general task will not be that different: that is, you will still have to carefully read the facts, use IRAC, and apply the law to the facts!

If you want to see when each “unusual” MPT type was tested, you can find our MPT chart here.

For more tips on what to do if you see an unusual task, see this post! To see all of our MPT resources, see these posts!

We hope this post on MPT formats and attack outlines was helpful! If you want all of the attack outlines in one page, check out our MPT one-sheet here!

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