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Encyclopedia > Legal ethics

Legal ethics refers to an ethical code governing those in the practice of law. In many places, lawyers are bound by an ethical code that is enforced by self-governing bar associations, which have the authority to discipline (up to and including disbarment) members who engage in unethical professional behavior. American law schools are required to offer a course in professional responsibility, which encompasses both legal ethics and matters of professionalism that do not present ethical concerns. In the context of a code adopted by a profession or by a governmental or quasi-governmental organ to regulate that profession, an ethical code may be styled as a code of professional responsibility, which may dispense with difficult issues of what behavior is ethical. Some codes of ethics are... In its most general sense, the practice of law involves giving legal advice to clients, drafting legal documents for clients, and representing clients in legal negotiations and court proceedings such as lawsuits, and is applied to the professional services of a lawyer or Attorney at Law, barrister, solicitor or civil... A bar association is a professional body of lawyers who, in some jurisdictions, are responsible for the regulation of the legal profession. ... Disbarment is a penalty for lawyers. ... // A law school is an institution where future lawyers obtain legal degrees. ... Professional responsibility is the area of legal practice that encompasses the duties of attorneys to act in a professional manner, obey the law, avoid conflicts of interest, and put the interests of clients ahead of their own interests. ...

While legal codes of ethics differ from place to place, they tend to have some common statutes governing things like conflicts of interest, incompetence, bribery, coercion, communications with jurors, coaching witnesses, and so on.


  • No Contest: Corporate Lawyers and the Perversion of Justice in America, by Ralph Nader and Wesley J. Smith. ISBN 0-375-75258-7

See also

Engineering ethics Engineering ethics is the field of ethics describing the obligations of those who are professional engineers to their clients or employers, and their obligations to society as a whole. ...

External links

  • New York Professional Responsibility Report (NYPRR)
  • LII Law about... Professional Responsibility (Legal Ethics)
  • The Legal Information Institute at Cornell University (U.S.)

  Results from FactBites:
Legal Ethics Sites (760 words)
Legal Ethics Forum (http://legalethicsforum.typepad.com/blog/) -- three law school educators from different parts of the country have joined together to create a terrific weblog featuring constantly-updated materials on issues in legal ethics.
Legal Ethics Opinion Summaries (http://www.mcguirewoods.com/services/leo/) -- McGuire Woods attorney Tim Spahn has prepared summaries of Virginia and ABA Legal Ethics Opinions, and made them available free of charge.
Ethics resources on the Internet are somewhat finite; there are not an overabundance of high-quality ethics sites out there right now.
  More results at FactBites »



23rd August 2010
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