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Ethics and Professional Responsibility

Guide to researching legal ethics, malpractice and professional responsibility, with a focus on Missouri

Professional Responsibility 

Sources of Authority 

Sources of Authority

American Bar Association

American Bar Association: Center for Professional Responsibilty :  The Center provides national leadership in developing and interpreting standards and scholarly resources in legal and judicial ethics, professional regulation, professionalism and client protection.

ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct :  The ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct  were adopted by the ABA House of Delegates in 1983. They serve as models for the ethics rules of most states. Before the adoption of the Model Rules, the ABA model was the 1969 Model Code of Professional Responsibility . Preceding the Model Code were the 1908 Canons of Professional Ethics (last amended in 1963).  The ABA offers an Annotated Model Rules of Professional Conduct (latest library edition-fifth edition; ABA tenth edition).

ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional RepsonsiblitySince 1908 the Association's Ethics Committee has focused its efforts on the development of model national ethics standards for lawyers and the judiciary and the drafting of ABA Formal Ethics Opinions interpreting and applying those standards.

ABA/BNA Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct :  The most authoritative source for news and guidance on virtually every aspect of attorney conduct and legal ethics.  The Manual is organized into four main sections: the Practice Guides, Ethics Rules, Current Reports, and Ethics Opinions.  UMKC sso log-in or BloombergBNA password required.


Attorney Disciplinary Information :  Missouri Supreme Court Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel.

Missouri Supreme Court Rules Governing the Bar and Judiciary :  These are the collective rules of the Missouri Supreme Court regulating the Bar and the Judiciary.  Individual rules are cited as "Rule ___"; for instance the Rules of Professional Conduct are cited as Rule 4- #. #.

Missouri Supreme Court Orders:  Court orders, some of which concern professional responsability issues or rules of the court.

Missouri Ethics Informal and Formal Advisory Opinions:    Informal advisory opinions are issued by the Legal Ethics Counsel under Rule 5.30. The Legal Ethics Counsel only issues opinions to attorneys for their own guidance involving an existing set of facts. Informal advisory opinions cannot be issued on hypotheticals or regarding the conduct of an attorney other than the one asking for the opinion. 

The formal opinions and informal advisory opinions through June 30, 1994 are included in a deskbook entitled Missouri Advisory Opinions published by The Missouri Bar in 1995. A Supplement to the deskbook was published in 1996. Opinions included in the deskbook and supplement are indexed by topic and include an annotation to the particular rule(s) involved. The book is no longer being published; however, you may search an electronic version of the deskbook and supplement and formal opinions published since 1996.  However, as a student, you will have to sign up for a non-member account, which is free.


Kansas Supreme Court Rules : 

Kansas Supreme Court Orders : Court orders, some of which concern professional responsability or rules of the court.

Kansas Office of the Disciplinary Administrator :  The Kansas Disciplinary Administrator's Office is a state agency in the judicial branch working under the direction of the Kansas Supreme Court. The Disciplinary Administrator reviews complaints of misconduct against lawyers, conducts investigations, holds public hearings when appropriate, and recommends discipline to the Supreme Court in serious matters.