Research guides

Legal Ethics & Professional Conduct

ABA Opinions

"The American Bar Association and many state and local bar associations have created committees which render opinions on questions of legal ethics for the guidance of inquiring lawyers. . . . When new, recurring, or significant questions are raised, the committee may render a formal opinion, which is more thoroughly researched, discussed and articulated." Robert H. Aronson & Donald T. Weckstein, Professional Responsibility in a Nutshell 37-38 (2nd. 1991).

Online Resources

Ethics Opinions ABA
1983-present. Recent opinions available for no charge. Older opinions available for a fee. No charge for members of the ABA Center of Professional Responsibility.

ETHICSearch ABA
ETHICSearch is a collection of resources from the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility and Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility to aid in research on questions of legal ethics. Contact them at ETHICSearch@americanbar.org.

Print Resources

ABA/BNA Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct: Current Reports ABA/BNA
Library has vol. 1 (1984) - present.
Select ethics opinion summaries only. Newsletter format.

ABA/BNA Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct: Ethics Opinions ABA/BNA
8 vols., 1980-1985, 1986-1990, 1991-1996, 1996-2000, 2001-2005, 2006-2010, 2011-2015, 2016-2020.
Select ethics opinion summaries for ABA, various states, Pennsylvania Bar Association, Philadelphia Bar Association, and Allegheny Bar Association.

Digest of Bar Association Ethics Opinions American Bar Foundation
4 vols., Coverage includes 1924 - June 1980. Opinion summaries from the ABA, 26 bar associations, and 2 specialty associations. Coverage varies by jurisdiction.
Pennsylvania opinions include Pennsylvania Bar Association opinion 1978-1, Philadelphia Bar Association opinions, and Allegheny Bar Association opinions.
Library also has on Micro.

Formal and Informal Ethics Opinions Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, ABA
1983-1998. Full text available.
Library also has on Micro.

Formal and Informal Ethics Opinions: Formal Opinions 316-348, Informal Opinions 1285-1495 Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, ABA
Formal Opinions 1967-1982, Informal Opinions 1974-1982. Full text available.
Library also has on Micro.

Formal Ethics Opinions, 1999-2013 Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, ABA
1999-2013. Full text available.

Informal Ethics Opinions Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, ABA
2 vols., 1960-1966, 1965-1973, not in date order. Full text available.
Vol. 1 includes Parallel Tables and Index. Library also has on Micro.

Opinions of the Committee on Professional Ethics, with the Canons of Professional Ethics, Annotated and the Canons of Judicial Ethics, Annotated American Bar Foundation
1924-1965 (Opinion #1-315). Full text available.
Library also has on Micro.

Recent Ethics Opinions Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, ABA
1999-2008. Full text available.