Law & Legal & Attorney Government & administrative Law

The ABA Model Code of Conduct for a Lawyer


    • The first version of a code of conduct for attorneys was the 1908 Canons of Professional Ethics. This code was amended several times up through 1963. In 1969, the ABA adopted the Model Code of Professional Responsibility. Each state in the United States besides California has rules of professional conduct that mirror ABA rules.

    Current Rules

    • The ABA adopted the most recent version of professional rules, The Model Rules of Professional Conduct, in 1983. The code includes Canons--general statements of behavior that are assumed to be the standard, Disciplinary Rules--mandatory punishments for violating Canons, and Ethical Considerations--objectives or standards toward which each attorney should reach.


    • One area covered by the Model Code of Conduct is the lawyer/client relationship. This includes respecting client's decisions, being diligent, keeping confidences, avoiding conflicts of interest and safeguarding property. Other rules govern how a lawyer should end representation of a client and how to sell a law practice. The rules cover many other aspects of law, such as the role of the lawyer as counselor and lawyer as advocate.

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