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Legal Ethics Research

This guide focuses on the codes of professional ethics and ethics opinions available from the American Bar Association, and various state bar associations.

Code of Ethics

Model Rules of Professional Conduct is the current ethical code of the American Bar Association. Promulagated in 1983, its been adopted in some form by most states. Copies of the Model Rules are available in these sources:

This annotated version contains the full text of the rules, and provides extensive citations to cases, articles, and books discussing the issues arising under each rule.

ABA/BNA Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct on Bloomberg Law:

Updated monthly. Comprehensive approach to providing materials on legal ethics, it provides text and commentary of the ABA Model Rules and Model Code and ethics rules for all states, as well as opinions from the ABA and various states.


American Bar Association, Annotated Code of Professional Responsibility (1979). (KF306 .A764 1979 - Third Floor)

This code was promulagated by the ABA in 1969, and adopted by courts in almost all states in the following years. Many states still have ethical codes based on the Model Code. This annotated code contains citations to ABA ethics opinions, judicial decisions, and secondary sources for each provision of the Model Code.

The full unannotated text is aslo available in:


American Bar Association, Opinions of the Committee on Professional Ethics, with the Canons of Professional Ethics, Annotated, and Canons of Judicial Ethics, Annotated. (KF305.A62 A5 1967 - Second Floor Reference)

Contains an annotated text of the 1908 ABA Canons of Professional Ethics, as amended, which was the first code adopted by the ABA. Widespread dissatisfaction with this code led the ABA to adopt the Model Code in 1969.


Regulation of Lawyers, Statutes and Standards (annual). (KF305 .A15 R44 - Second Floor Reference)

Contains ABA Model Codes, ABA Standards Relating to the Administration of Criminal Justice, Model Code of Judicial Conduct, and selected federal statutes. Also includes tables cross-referencing (i) the Canons of Professional Ethics and the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, and (ii) the Restatement of the Law Governing Lawyers, and the Model Rules of Professional Conduct.

ABA Compendium of Professional Responsibility Rules and Standards (annual). (KF305 .A2 - First Floor Clarke Collection)

Contains ABA Model Codes, ABA Standards Relating to the Administration of Criminal Justice, Model Code of Judicial Conduct, and selected federal statutes.

Lexis+: Browse Sources > filter to Category: Administrative Materials, then narrow by Practice Areas & Topics: Legal Ethics

Westlaw Edge: Using the search box enter the terms ABA Ethics Materials


Judges are bound by the general rules of professional conduct for all lawyers, but special rules of professional conduct exist for judges. Like the rules for lawyers, each state adopts its own rules for judicial conduct, and most are based on this model code:

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