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.

State Codes

For the purpose of legal research, there are two kinds of ethical codes in the United States: model codes and state codes. State Codes are the ethical rules officially adopted by the states, under the authority of either the legislature or (more usually) the state's highest court.  These rules are binding on legal practitioners licensed and practicing within that jurisdiction.  While the model codes are often the general inspiration for state codes, the model and state codes are not identical as individual states do customize the codes to meet the particular needs and preferences of their jurisdictions.


In Print: The state codes of professional ethics are usually published in a volume with the state's court rules. To locate the court rules for a particular state, use the subject index to the state code.


  • Westlaw: In the search bar at the top of the page, type name of the state followed by "rules of professional conduct." A link to the relevant section of that state's annotated code should appear.
  • Bloomberg Law: Go to the page to Search and Browse All Legal Content.  Select Jurisdiction to find the desired state, then browse to Court Rules to locate Rules of Professional Conduct (where available). 


State Guides. The library has published a research guide for each state. Visit our Research Guides list to find the relevant state guide.