Legal Ethics and Legal Profession Research Guide

This guide focuses on the codes of professional ethics and ethics opinions from the American Bar Association and state bar associations. This guide also identifies resources for researching management of law offices and corporate legal departments.

Ethics Opinions

The ABA and each state bar association publish ethics opinions in response to requests for advice from lawyers. The ethics opinions are advisory and not enforceable as law, but can be cited to show how a bar association has interpreted a specific provision of the Model Rules or Model Code.

American Bar Association Ethics Opinions

The ABA's Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility issues formal and informal ethics opinions. Formal opinions are issued on matters that are deemed of general interest to the bar; informal opinions are issued for specific inquiries relating to a particular set of facts.



State Ethics Opinions

The full text of ethics opinions from state and local bar associations are not collected in any one place. The sources described below will assist you in locating state bar ethics opinions on a particular topic. Most state bar associations publish opinions in the state bar journal or newsletters, but some do not publish their ethics opinions at all. Some state bar associations publish a looseleaf reporter with their ethics opinions or make their opinions available online.

Historical Ethics Opinions

Find historical ethics opinions interpreting the Model Rules and Model Code. Note that online versions of Shepard's and KeyCite do not cover the Model Rules.