Substantial information on legal ethics is available on the Internet, including:
- http://www.law.georgetown.edu/library/research/guides/legal_ethics.cfm, a broad-based Legal Ethics Research Guide offered by Georgetown Law Library with links to substantial material. Many of the links are to Lexis and Westlaw, but there is an extensive list of available resources, and some Internet links.
- http://legalethics.com/, which focuses on a variety of specific topics, including ethical walls, blogs, ethical issues associated with use of technology by legal professionals, use of the cloud, and a state by state directory.
- http://www.freivogelonconflicts.com/, described as “A Guide to Conflicts of Interest for Lawyers,” which gathers material into multiple topics such as Co-Counsel/Common Interest, Corporate Families, Enjoining Conflicts, Investing in Clients/Stock for Fees, Lawyers Representing Lawyers.
- http://www.law.cornell.edu/ethics/, the American Legal Ethics Library, with information from all 50 States and the ABA. The information is accessible by jurisdiction and by topic, as well as a collection of material on multidisciplinary practice. [as of March 1, 2013, no longer maintained and updated]
- Most States have websites specific to legal ethics issues in the specific State. A search for “legal ethics” or “ethics” and the State will bring these quickly to hand. California at http://ethics.calbar.ca.gov/ Louisiana http://www.lasc.org/rules/ http://www.lsba.org/Members/EthicsAdvisary.aspx
- Individual federal courts may also have rules governing lawyers practicing in the court. For example, the Seventh Circuit has Standards for Professional Conduct that govern Lawyers’ Duties to Other Counsel, Lawyers’ Duties to the Court and the Courts’ Duties to Lawyers http://www.ca7.uscourts.gov/Rules/rules.htm#standards
There is much to be said in favor of checking the ethics of conduct when one contemplates embarking on a new course of action. New attorneys should review ethics rules regularly, especially if their superior advocates action that does not seem appropriate. Counsel should never accuse another attorney of unethical behavior without checking to be sure what is and what is not permitted.
Image courtesy of Flickr by Stephen Wu (creative-commons license, no changes made).