||The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2010)
Legal ethics encompasses an ethical code governing the conduct of persons engaged in the practice of law and persons more generally in the legal sector.
In the United States
"Legal ethics" in the United States is generally understood to primarily apply to lawyers, while codes of professional responsibility also apply in a derivative sense (indirectly) to non-lawyers who work with lawyers, such as paralegals or private investigators. In the United States, the practice of law is regulated by the governments of the individual states and territories. As a whole, federal law does not control legal ethics.
Each state or territory has a code of professional conduct dictating rules of ethics. These may be adopted by the respective state legislatures and/or judicial systems. The American Bar Association has promulgated the Model Rules of Professional Conduct which, while formally only a recommendation by a private body, have been influential in many jurisdictions. The Model Rules address many topics which are found in state ethics rules, including the client-lawyer relationship, duties of a lawyer as advocate in adversary proceedings, dealings with persons other than clients, law firms and associations, public service, advertising, and maintaining the integrity of the profession. Respect of client confidences, candor toward the tribunal, truthfulness in statements to others, and professional independence are some of the defining features of legal ethics.
Some U.S. states, including New York, require applicants seeking to become attorneys to have taken a course in professional responsibility during law school.
Every state in the United States has a regulatory body (usually called a state bar association) that polices lawyer conduct. When lawyers are licensed to practice in a state, those lawyers subject themselves to this authority. Overall responsibility often lies with the highest court in a state (such as state supreme court). The state bar associations, often in consultation with the court, adopt a set of rules that set forth the applicable ethical duties. As of 2013, 48 states have adopted a version of the American Bar Association's model rules. California and Maine are the only states that have not adopted either—instead these states have written their own rules from scratch. There is some debate over whether state ethical rules apply to federal prosecutors. The Department of Justice has held differing opinions through different administrations, with the Thornburgh Memo suggesting these rules do not apply, and the Reno Rules asserting that they do apply.
Lawyers who fail to comply with local rules of ethics may be subjected to discipline ranging from private (non-public) reprimand to disbarment.
In India, BAR COUNCIL OF INDIA UNDER THE ADVOCATES ACT, 1961 regulates the legal ethics and creates rule for registering advocates and for taking disciplinary action against them.
- No Contest: Corporate Lawyers and the Perversion of Justice in America, by Ralph Nader and Wesley J. Smith. ISBN 0-375-75258-7
- California Rules of Professional Conduct, published by the Office of Professional Competence, Planning & Development of the State Bar of California.
- Gabriel Chin & Scott Wells, Can a Reasonable Doubt have an Unreasonable Price? Limitations on Attorney's Fees in Criminal Cases, 41 Boston College Law Review 1 (1999)
Legal Ethics: A Series of Shorts
The Robert P. Lawry Lecture in Legal Ethics - Fred C. Zacharias
The Robert P. Lawry Lecture in Legal Ethics Fred C. Zacharias - Herzog Research Professor of Law, University of San Diego School of Law September 26, 2007 4:...
Understanding Legal Ethics, w/ Russ Herman [part 2]
Attorney Russ Herman joins the Louisiana law talk show "John Redmann: Power of Attorney" to continue his discussion about legal ethics. Get more helpful law ...
"Basic Rules" of Legal Ethics: Fiat Justitia with Geoffrey Hazard
"About half of what a good lawyer does is to tell a client: 'Stop being a fool.'" UC Hastings Chancellor & Dean Frank H. Wu talks with Professor Geoffrey Haz...
Ask the Ethics Guy! #11- ETHICS VERSUS THE LAW
If something is legal, does that mean it's ethical? Dr. Bruce Weinstein, host of Bloomberg Businessweek's "Ask the Ethics Guy!," answers this evergreen quest...
Legal Ethics Picture Show
Ever wonder what kind of ethical challenges lawyers face? Sure you do. Watch this video and you'll find out. Also, download the supplementary powerpoint pres...
Legal Ethics: Duties to Clients CLE - Albany NY Attorney Douglas Rose - Tully Rinckey PLLC
On Tuesday, July 17, 2012, Tully Rinckey partner Douglas J. Rose, Esq. presented a free Continuing Legal Education (CLE) course on "Legal Ethics: Duties to C...
Ethics and Law in our Lives
This is a "Law Lessong" - a law lesson in a song - that was written by a student in a Legal Environment of Business Class at the University of Connecticut. I...
Blackballing Lawyers and Legal Ethics
I go over my highlights from an ethics seminar. I also produce a comic at http://volcomic.com.
Legal Ethics in An Age of Technology
Legal Ethics in an Age of Technology... That sounds a wee bit lofty, no? Some of you are probably thinking, "Ethics? We're talking about Facebook and Twitter...
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 19:47:48 -0700
Georgia State Professor of Law and Ethics, Clark Cunningham, says Georgia citizens are facing a crisis of public confidence due to the unfolding drama at the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, commonly called The ...
Suburban Life Publications
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 08:33:45 -0700
RINGWOOD – A hands-on workshop will give teachers the background to build a native garden with their students back at their own school. The program will be held 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. July 28 to Aug. 1 at Glacial Park's Lost Valley Visitor Center in ...
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 14:45:00 -0700
ethics-scale Guidance from model ethics rules both from the American Bar Association and Texas are arguably more clear for attorneys in private practice (and perhaps even more for private practice trial attorneys) than for attorneys who work for a ...
Hawaii Business Magazine
Sat, 05 Jul 2014 11:33:45 -0700
July 15: “Legal Ethics” with Professor Scott Peppet of the University of Colorado Law School. July 17: “Medical Ethics” with Rick Fried, founding member of Cronin, Fried, Sekiya, Kekina & Fairbanks; Dr. Jerris Hedges, dean of the John A. Burns School ...
Suburban Life Publications
Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:07:29 -0700
Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales speaks about legal ethics at a dinner event on Thursday night at Benedictine College. By NATHAN LURZ - email@example.com. LISLE – A former attorney general during the President George W. Bush era ...
Tue, 29 Jul 2014 09:30:00 -0700
The prosecutors suggest in the motion that the meeting represented a violation of legal ethics by Maria Elena Perez, the Florida-based lawyer representing defendant Amaury Villa, and that it may have created a conflict of interest for her in ...
Mon, 14 Jul 2014 13:14:32 -0700
The woman at the center of the controversial Governor Deal campaign finance investigation is fighting back. Holly LaBerge, the head of the state ethics commission, says she has done nothing wrong and she is not the governor's patsy. In an exclusive ...
Legal Talk Network
Mon, 14 Jul 2014 12:42:40 -0700
On this episode of The Digital Edge, Sharon D. Nelson and Jim Calloway ask legal ethics expert Tom Spahn about the proper way to professionally deal with the various situations that arise when a law firm splits up. He explains that lawyers and their ...
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