December 2012 Bar Bulletin
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December 2012 Bar Bulletin

The Law Governing Lawyers

By Kris Henderson
Reference Services Librarian


In anticipation of each issue of the Bar Bulletin, the editor sends an email notifying authors of the theme of the upcoming issue and suggests several ideas for article topics that could fit the theme. The list of ideas for this ethics issue morphed into my own list highlighting some of the titles at the Public Law Library on the law governing lawyers.

Go-to Resources on Ethics and the Law Governing Lawyers

ABA/BNA Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct (ABA/BNA 1984-2012): This authoritative and practical set contains the Model Rules of Professional Conduct and other legal standards. The text is organized around specific legal issues. If you're looking for the text of an ABA ethics opinion, this is a good place to find it. In addition, there are digests of state and local ethics opinions. Finally, the service includes Current Reports, with articles on recent court decisions, ethics opinions and disciplinary proceedings.

Restatement (Third) of the Law Governing Lawyers (West 2000 & 2012 supp.): As the title suggests, this Restatement is an attempt to state the black-letter law governing lawyers. It is organized by general topic, e.g., regulation of lawyers, civil judicial remedies, the client-lawyer relationship and confidentiality of client information. This work is broader than an exposition of the Model Rules and is not always in agreement with them. (See next title).

Thomas D. Morgan, Lawyer Law: Comparing the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct with ALI Restatement (Third) of the Law Governing Lawyers (ABA 2005): I'll let the title be your guide.

Geoffrey C. Hazard, Jr., et al., The Law of Lawyering (Aspen/Wolters Kluwer 3d ed. 2001–2012): This two-volume work discusses the "law of lawyering" in light of both the Model Rules and the Restatement, as well as other sources.

Ronald D. Rotunda & John S. Dzienkowski, Legal Ethics: The Lawyer's Handbook on Professional Responsibility 2012–2013 (ABA Center for Professional Responsibility 2012): Organized around the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, this work discusses ethical issues that a practicing attorney is most likely to encounter, as well as judicial ethics.

Washington-specific Resources

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