Tomorrow morning I get to take my MPRE exam. The initials stand for the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam.

The MPRE is an ethics exam – it’s supposed to weed out people who do not understand how to tell right from wrong in a legal setting. 

It’s one of those fill-in-the-dot exams where you get to pick the best answer of four options. But from the practice tests I’ve taken, usually the true best answer for each scenario is not among the four choices presented. So, instead of “best” answer the test is actually “choose the least bad” answer of the bunch presented.

My professional responsibility professor says the examiners do it this way on purpose – it’s to test the way we reason, not that we memorized a group of rules.

The odd thing is there are two types of people who take this exam: law students and attorneys who had an ethics violation and are told by the state bar that they need to re-take the MPRE as punishment.

Of course, I am 39 – which means that some of the other students there who are not from my school are going to be assuming because of my age that I am an unethical attorney doing penance.

Below at the bottom of this article is a graphical map of San Jose’s Halloween Eve earthquake. The epicenter of the quake is the red star in the center.

It happened a little after 8 p.m. while I was in class in law school (right arrow). The classroom was in a basement of a mid-rise building in downtown San Jose. As first there was a low rumbling… for about 5 seconds. It felt like a freight train going by.

Then BAM.. it was like someone took the floor and started shaking it up and down real hard and very fast. If you’ve ever driven your car into a ditch before – that’s how it felt. That lasted for about 5 or 6 more seconds.

Then it started to subside in a rolling fashion. That felt like the room was on a boat in heavy seas. It kinda made you queasy. During this part, I got up and headed for the door. That rolling lasted for a few more seconds and finally tapered off.

As you read this, a “few seconds” may not seem like much, but when adrenaline kicks in 10-15 seconds can feel like a LOOOOOOOOOOOONG time.


Where my home is in Mountain View (Left Arrow), the shaking was much less severe. My husband and our pets rode out the rumbles like seasoned veterans.

Me, being an Indiana boy, I think I handled the situation – which was the strongest earthquake I lived through – fine. But it did make enough of an impression on me that I decided to write about it here. (And make a map to boot.)

After a 10-minute break, my class resumed and Judge Ware, continued his lecture as if nothing happened. But with the student turmoil, he ended class early since many of the students were freaking out about being in a trapped basement if a bigger quake hit.

October 30 Earthquake