Maryland is the only state that does not require bar applicants to take and pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). The purpose of the MPRE is to measure the examinee’s knowledge and understanding of established standards related to a lawyer’s professional conduct. I propose that all current and future Maryland attorneys be required to pass the MPRE test.
Here is a sample MPRE question:
An experienced oil and gas developer asked an attorney to represent him in a suit to establish the developer’s ownership of certain oil and gas royalties. The developer did not have available the necessary funds to pay the attorney’s reasonable hourly rate for undertaking the case and proposed instead that, if he prevailed in the lawsuit, he would pay the attorney 20% of the first year’s royalties recovered in the suit. Twenty percent of the first year’s royalties would likely exceed the amount that the attorney would have received from charging his regular hourly rate. The attorney accepted the proposal.
Is the attorney subject to discipline?
(A) Yes, because the agreement gave the attorney a proprietary interest in the developer’s cause of action.
(B) Yes, because the fee was likely to exceed the amount that the attorney would have received from charging his regular hourly rate.
(C) No, because the developer rather than the attorney proposed the fee arrangement.
(D) No, because the attorney may contract with the developer for a reasonable contingent fee.
The answer is “D”.