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Legal Ethics Research Guide

Model Rules of Professional Conduct

The Model Rules of Professional Conduct is the current ethical code of the American Bar Association. It was promulgated in 1983 and has been adopted in some form by all 50 states. An electronic version of the Model Rules is available on the ABA's website and Lexis. Annotations and other information about the rules can be found in the sources listed below.

Legislative Histories

Model Code of Professional Responsibility

The American Bar Association Model Code of Professional Responsibility, the predecessor to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, was created by the American Bar Association (ABA) in 1969 as a set of professional standards designed to establish the minimum baseline of legal ethics and professional responsibility generally required of lawyers in the United States. It was adopted by courts in almost all states, and many states still have ethical codes based on the Model Code.

It was replaced with the Model Rules of Professional Conduct in 1983.

ABA Canons of Judicial Ethics

Promulgated in 1908, ABA Canons of Professional Ethics was the first code of ethics adopted by the American Bar Association. Widespread dissatisfaction with the Code of Professional Ethics led the ABA to adopt the Model Code of Professional Responsibility in 1969.


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