As officers of the court, attorneys are held to a high standard of conduct. There are two sets of rules for Georgia attorneys which are important in the governance of attorney behavior: the ABA Models Rules of Professional Conduct and the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct.
ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct
Your research may require information on the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the ethics opinions interpreting them. The Model Rules of Professional Conduct can be found in print in the MacMillan Law Library and are also available on Lexis and Westlaw.
There are two other very helpful places which provide users with access to a variety of information and ethics opinions pertaining to the Model Rules. The first is the ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct which promotes itself as being “the most authoritative source for news and guidance on virtually every aspect of attorney conduct and legal ethics." It is a great current awareness tool, providing access to both primary materials and commentary. The Manual also has court decisions, ethics opinions and updates on proposed rule changes.
The second is the American Bar Association’s Center for Professional Responsibility. It has the advantage of being free. It not only has the text of the Model Rules, but also has a comparison of state rules to Model Rules, surveys, statistics and other publications.
Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct
The Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct can be found on the State Bar of Georgia website. You can also find Advisory Opinions and the Rules of Disciplinary Proceedings on the site. In print, a useful volume is the State Bar of Georgia Directory and Handbook which is available at the Service Desk of the MacMillan Law Library. Georgia Supreme Court opinions in attorney disciplinary actions (disbarments and suspensions) can be found in the Georgia Reporters and the South Eastern Reporters.
The rules of professional conduct of other states may also be of interest. There is a National Reporter on Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility which is an annual loose-leaf arranged by state and includes rules and opinions. This is available both in print in the MacMillan Law Library and on Lexis.
Other tools include:
- legalethics.com, a website dedicated to the ethical issues associated with the use of technology by legal professionals
- Restatement of the Law Governing Lawyers, which provides persuasive authority on the law of legal ethics
- ABA and State Bar Journals, as well as legal newspapers such as the American Lawyer and National Law Journal, both on Lexis, may also be useful in your research.