Professional Responsibility & Legal Ethics

As the need for quick and easy access to professional responsibility and ethics materials continues to increase, law librarians and other legal professionals must identify sources of valuable and reliable information. To this end, I share with you the following links, which are some of my favorite Internet resources for legal ethics materials.

American Bar Association, Center for Professional Responsibility

Another important source of legal ethics information is the American Bar Association Center for Professional Responsibility, which “[provides] national leadership and vision in developing and interpreting standards and scholarly research in legal ethics, professionalism and client protection mechanisms.” The Center’s website includes:

-headnote summaries of formal opinions issued by the ABA

-Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility;

-annotated links to state rules of professional and judicial conduct;

-annotated links to state ethics advisory opinions; and
a list of useful print publications.

American Legal Ethics Library

A project of Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute, the American Legal Ethics Library is a “digital library [that] contains both the codes or rules setting standards for the professional conduct of lawyers and commentary on the law governing lawyers, organized on a state by state basis.” Material is accessible by jurisdiction or by topic and includes state narratives, rules or codes, ethics opinions, judicial conduct codes and other legal ethics materials. In addition, the Library also includes American Bar Association ethics materials to “permit the rules of a particular state to be compared with the ABA model provisions in other states.”

Boston University Law Library, Lawyering in the 21st Century Research Guide

Lawyering in the 21st Century is another well-organized research guide for locating legal ethics information. This site includes links to sources providing state codes of ethics materials, model codes of ethics resources, cases and ethics opinions. Additionally, seven other potential sources of information are discussed including treatises, restatements, journal articles, current awareness tools, books, foreign and comparative resources and comparative and multinational resources. Most importantly, though, this site includes a link to Genie Tyburski’s Virtual Chase Legal Ethics Guide. Another one of my favorite Internet sources of legal ethics information, the Virtual Chase Legal Ethics Guide offers a unique alert feature encouraging users to submit their email addresses to receive notices when updates are made to the guide.

Findlaw, Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law for Legal Professionals offers an extensive directory of web resources devoted to the subject of ethics and professional responsibility law. This website includes links to laws, ethics rules, opinions, state bar associations, lawyer disciplinary agencies, journal articles, newsletters, discussion groups and other websites providing coverage of this topic. In addition, there are links to West Group’s catalog of legal ethics books and CD-ROM resources, as well as two Westlaw databases – Federal Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility Cases (FETH-CS) and Multistate Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility Cases (METH-CS).

(Note: Access to both Westlaw databases requires a fee/subscription.)

New England School of Law, Professional Responsibility Research Guide

The New England School of Law Professional Responsibility Research Guide includes links to some 30 providers of legal ethics information on the Internet. Arranged by type of resource, the information available here includes links to primary materials, research collections, journals, discussion lists and organization websites. Furthermore, a section entitled “Specific Issues” includes links to information about attorney-client relationships, business ethics, use of the Internet in the practice of law, multidisciplinary practice, multijurisdictional practice and reform of ethics practices.

Social Law Library, Professional Responsibility Research Guide

Like the Boston University website described above, the Social Law Library Professional Responsibility Research Guide highlights both print and electronic sources of legal ethics information. An added benefit of the Social Law Library site, however, is the inclusion of call number and shelf location information of the print resources described. These features allow Social Law Library members to quickly identify, order and borrow treatises or other publications that are only available in print.

Suffolk University Law School, Legal Ethics Resources

Compiled and maintained by Reference Librarian, Ellen Delaney, the Suffolk University Law School Legal Ethics Guide includes approximately 25 links to resources available on the Internet. The resources are arranged in four categories including primary resources (e.g., a link to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct), legal ethics journals (e.g., a link to citations from the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics), associations (e.g., a link to the Martindale Hubbell Directory of State Disciplinary Boards and Bar Associations) and major collections of legal ethics information (e.g., a link to the Research Wire Column by Diana and James Butluk entitled “A Web of Legal Ethics: Rules of Professional Conduct”).

Compiled by Jennifer Kessler of Goodwin Procter LLP in 8/03.

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