Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility

This guide is designed for students doing research in legal ethics or are preparing for the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE).

Introduction

Legal ethics and professional responsibility are critical elements in the legal profession.  They establish the rules and standards for lawyers, and give an ethical framework for a variety of issues and situations.  The following research guide may prove helpful in doing research in this area.

Model Rules of Professional Conduct

The main text for professional responsibility within the legal profession can be found in the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct.  These rules were adopted in 1983 and have been modified frequently since then.  These rules replaced the Model Code of Professional Responsibility which was adopted in 1969.  The rules can be found in a number of resources, both in print and electronically.  These rules have been adopted by 47 states.  The exceptions are California and Maine, which have adopted neither the Model Rules nor Model Code, and New York which continues to use the older Model Code.

The ABA maintains a page for the Model Rules 

  • Included in this page is the full-text of the current rules, along with the Model Code of Professional Responsibility and the 1908 Canons of Professional Ethics which predated the Model Code. 
  • This site also provides links to states' ethics rules and commentary and legislative history.

Lexis

  • The Model Rules can also be found in Lexis by searching in the "Find a Source" tab for "model rules of professional conduct".
  • A database of cases related to legal ethics is also available using the library ETHICS.

WestLaw

  • To find the Model Rules in WestLaw select the database ABA-MRPC (Unannotated) or ABA-AMRPC (Annotated).
  • A database of cases related to legal ethics is also available using the database FETH-CS (federal cases) or METH-CS (state cases). 

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