professional responsibility: an overview
The legal profession has existed for over two thousand years. From the Greek city-states and the Roman Empire to present day United States, legal advocates have played a vital and active role in the formulation and administration of laws. Because of their role in society and their close involvement in the administration of law, lawyers are subject to special standards, regulation, and liability. Sometimes called legal ethics, sometimes professional responsibility, the topic is perhaps most comprehensively described as the law governing lawyers.
Since lawyers are admitted to practice by states this topic is largely one of state law. However, as federal courts can and do set their own practice rules and federal agencies do as well, the topic has a federal component, too.
End-of-life notice: American Legal Ethics Library
As of March 1, 2013, the Legal Information Institute is no longer maintaining the information in the American Legal Ethics Library. It is no longer possible for us to maintain it at a level of completeness and accuracy given its staffing needs. It is very possible that we will revive it at a future time. At this point, it is in need of a complete technological renovation and reworking of the "correspondent firm" model which successfully sustained it for many years.
Many people have contributed time and effort to the project over the years, and we would like to thank them. In particular, Roger Cramton and Peter Martin not only conceived ALEL but gave much of their own labor to it. We are also grateful to Brad Wendel for his editorial contributions, to Brian Toohey and all at Jones Day for their efforts, and to all of our correspondents and contributors. Thank you.
We regret any inconvenience.
menu of sources
State Judicial Decisions
Key Internet Sources
- ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct
- ABA Center for Professional Responsibility: State Legal Ethics Resources
Useful Offnet (or Subscription - $) Sources
- Good Starting Point in Print: R. Bradley Wendel, Lawyers and Fidelity to Law