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Rhode Island Bar Examination

The Rhode Island Bar Exam has four parts (MBE, MPT, MEE and state essays) over two days.

The exam is normally administered at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence and consists of the following:

Day 1 (Tuesday)  1 MPT, 3 state essays, 6 MEE essays

The first morning of the Rhode Island bar exam begins with 1 MPT question, which lasts 90 minutes.  A short break takes place, and then the 3 state essays are administered.  After a lunch break, applicants return to take the six MEE questions.  Normally, the MEE and state essays test different areas of law.

Day 2 (Wednesday) Multistate Bar Exam (MBE)

In the morning 100 MBE questions are administered over 3 hours.  After a lunch break, the second set of 100 MBE questions is administered over 3 hours.

The Rhode Island Bar Exam combines the scaled MBE, MEE, MPT and state essays score and requires a combined score of 276 to pass.  This is the equivalent of receiving either 1.) a 140 scaled score on the MBE and 7 out of 12 on the essays, or; 2.) a 135 scaled score on the MBE and 9 out of 12 on the essays.  You must also pass the MPRE within the past 2 years with a score of 80 for admission. The basic 2009 bar exam filing fee is $450 ($800 for attorneys). The bar application is extensive, so plan in advance to gather all of the materials.  I was shocked at how extensive the Rhode Island bar application was considering the jurisdiction is so small. 

Rhode Island does not have admission on motion (reciprocal admission) for applicants, but allows qualified out-of-state attorneys to take an attorney's exam, which does not include the MBE and requires only 8 out of 12 points on the essays to pass. You should check with the Rhode Island board for further information.
The following topics are tested on the Rhode Island Bar Exam (in addition to the six MBE topics):
  • Agency
  • Commercial Paper
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Corporations
  • Creditors' Rights
  • Domestic Relations
  • Equity
  • Partnerships
  • Rhode Island Practice & Procedure
  • Secured Transactions
  • Trusts
  • Wills

When I took in the exam I stayed next door at the Biltmore Hotel.  The Biltmore has nice rooms, but not all of them have refrigerators, so don't plan on going back to your room for food.  There are several small chain restaurants in the area to grab a quick bite to eat. 

Be careful of bathroom protocol as sometimes it can be time consuming running to the front of the room to sign out to use the restroom or waiting for someone else to return. Timing is critical in the bar exam. I would highly recommend paying the extra fee ($125 in 2009) to take the Rhode Island bar exam on your laptop because you are able to write more quickly and can produce a much neater answer than a handwriter.  



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