Code Of Professional Responsibility Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Code Of Professional Responsibility, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Code Of Professional Responsibility?

The American Bar Association formulated set of rules, principles and guidelines to define the professional responsibility of the lawyers. It deals with matters like honesty with clients, keeping mattes of their clients or other matters confidential, professional behaviour towards other lawyers and judges,conflicts of interest etc.

History and Meaning of Code Of Professional Responsibility

The Code of Professional Responsibility is a set of ethical and moral standards that was developed by the American Bar Association to define the professional conduct of attorneys. It was first proposed in 1969 and adopted in 1970 as a comprehensive compilation of the existing ethical norms for lawyers.

The Code is divided into three parts: canons, disciplinary rules, and ethical considerations. The canons set forth general principles of ethical conduct. The disciplinary rules provide specific rules of conduct and define the disciplinary process for violations of these rules. The ethical considerations are general aspirational goals that lawyers should strive for in the course of their practice.

In 1983, the Code of Professional Responsibility was revised and replaced with Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which are now used by most states in the U.S. as a guide to ethical conduct for lawyers.

Examples of Code Of Professional Responsibility

  1. An attorney must maintain client confidentiality, which means not divulging any information learned in the course of representation without informed consent from the client.
  2. A lawyer must avoid conflicts of interest, such as representing two clients in a matter where their interests may conflict with one another.
  3. An attorney cannot make misleading statements to a court or opposing party.
  4. Lawyers must offer affordable legal services.
  5. Attorneys must treat other lawyers, judges and all court personnel with respect and professional courtesy.

Legal Terms Similar to Code Of Professional Responsibility

  • Model Rules of Professional Conduct: replaced the Code of Professional Responsibility as a guideline for professional conduct of lawyers in several states.
  • American Bar Association: organization responsible for creating the Code of Professional Responsibility.
  • Ethics: the branch of philosophy that deals with moral principles governing behavior. Attorneys must ensure their behavior is consistent with the ethical standards outlined in the Code of Professional Responsibility.
  • Grievance: a formal complaint against a lawyer for bad or unethical behavior, can be filed with their state's bar association.