ALR Student’s Corner: A Helpful Guide to the ABA/BNA Lawyer’s Manual on Professional Conduct


The ABA/BNA Lawyer’s Manual on Professional Conduct is a useful resource which students and lawyers can access to help with any news or questions they may have on every aspect on attorney conduct and legal ethics.  The website is categorized into four sections: the Practice Guides, the Ethical Rules, Current Reports, and Ethics Opinions.

Practice Guides are located on the left side of the website’s homepage.  They are separated into topics.  Once you click on a topic, you can find information ranging from an introduction on that topic, an analysis of the law, and also information regarding how courts have applied the law in certain situations.  Practice Guides are an easy way to research certain areas of the professional conduct like: Fees, the Lawyer-Client Relationship, and also conduct in Trial.  By clicking on any of the available topics, you can search for rules/guidelines on that topic.  The Practice Guide gives you the corresponding rule, what it states, and the rationale for that rule.

The Ethical Rules, as you may be familiar with, houses the entire Model Rules of Professional Conduct.  This section is on the right side of the home screen.  This section also has valuable links to the various state ethics rules and also an entire section on which rules have been amended and changed slightly by different jurisdictions.  By clicking on the ‘Search Ethics Rules’ link you can easily search for terms or phrases.

Once you click ‘Search Ethics Rules’ the results will return links and documents for you to choose from accordingly.  For example if you search Confidentiality and then click search, the website will list out seven documents.  These results range from: state ethics rules, the actual ABA rules, and also under Judicial Enforcement.

The section on Current Reports houses up to date information on recent decisions, disciplinary actions, and all other relevant news within all jurisdictions in the United States.  The reports are updated twice a week and is a great section in which you can see what is happening in your area.  You can even search within all the reports that have been posted on the ABA website.  By clicking on the Current Reports link from the homepage, you can then choose on the left hand side whether you want the reports to be listed alphabetically or by the date they were issued.  By clicking on the Index archive you may search by alphabetical order and then search within the topic of your choosing simply by clicking on the (+) option next to each section.

The last section of the ABA manual website is also a useful section when you want to research information specific to your state’s jurisdiction.  Located on the top right hand side of the home page this section has the ABA Ethics Opinions and also brief summaries of opinions by both state and local bar associations.

Together all four sections comprise the entire website.  This is a useful tool all around to answer all ethical questions you may have.  This website is great for students in law school to use as a supplementary resource when taking their Professional Responsibility Course.  It is useful for professors who want to teach the course to be able to choose great articles and documents for their students.  The guides will be a great place even for final exam questions! Finally, the website is an excellent resource for any practicing attorney because it holds anything and everything an attorney needs to know when he or she has questions on professional conduct.  We may not understand it now because most of us have taken the Professional Responsibility course, but once we are out in the real world we do not want to feel as though we are lost and have no one to go to when we have questions.  This website will be a great tool for all of us to seek guidance on all aspects of our professional career.

Resources:

To check out the actual website please follow the following steps:

  1. Visit the Charlotte School of Law website
  2. Click on Law Library
  3. Click on Electronic Resources
  4. Search the tabs on the home page and click on their ‘A-Z Index of Databases’
  5. The ABA/BNA website link should be the first one listed!

To view the Model Rules of Professional Conduct

  1. Go to the ABA’s website at: http://www.americanbar.org/aba.html
  2. Search for the Model Rules of Professional Conduct

~Ashley Thomas, J.D. Candidate ’12~

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