Last Updated: Nov 8, 2016
The American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct are designed to guide lawyers and create a structure for regulating attorney conduct. The Model Rules have been adopted (with various modifications) by most states and the District of Columbia. The ABA has amended the Rules and associated Comments several times since their promulgation in 1983; always check the currency of whatever source you choose.
- Model Code of Professional Responsibility and Code of Judicial Conduct (1980)
The Model Code of Professional Responsibility was adopted by the ABA House of Delegates in 1969, and was the template for most state and federal codes until the introduction of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct in 1983.
- Canons of Professional and Judicial Ethics (1967)
The Canons were the first ethical code adopted by the American Bar Association, introduced in 1908. The Canons were based on the Code of Ethics of the Alabama Bar Association, which drew upon the work of Judge George Sharswood and Prof. David Hoffman.
- ABA Compendium of Professional Responsibility Rules and Standards (2011)
American Bar Association, Center for Professional Responsibility. A collection of current and superseded professional responsibility rules and standards,
- Model Code of Professional Responsibility, Model Rules of Professional Conduct, and Other Selected Standards including California Rules on Professional Responsibility (2013)
Thomas D. Morgan & Ronald D. Rotunda. A collection of historical and current material.
- ABA/BNA Lawyer's Manual on Professional Conduct: Model Rules and Standards
A current compendium of sources, including the Model Federal Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement, the Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions, the Model Rules for Judicial Disciplinary Enforcement, the Model Rules for Fee Arbitration, etc.
(Available via Bloomberg Law)
The ABA's Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility issues ethics opinions that construe the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. (Prior to 1983, the Committee construed the Model Code of Professional Responsibility; earlier forms of the committee interpreted the Canons of Professional Ethics.) These ethics opinions are not binding on any court or disciplinary authority, but are considered highly persuasive.
Formal Opinions are interpretations of the rules that the Committee believes to be of general interest. Informal Opinions address questions that are narrower in scope and have arisen less frequently. The Committee has not published any informal opinions since 1989.
Modern Legal Ethics
Publication Date: 1986