Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility Research: State Rules and Resources

Guide to sources on how to conduct legal research in legal ethics and professional responsibility, including New York materials.

State bar association websites can be a good resources when researching professional responsibilities issues in a particular jurisdiction, but you may end up doing research on Lexis or Westlaw, especially if you are looking for a jurisdiction-specific treatise, bar journal article, or if you need to search for ethics opinions, but don't already have a citation to a specific opinion.

  • Identify your issues first and then identify the relevant constitutions, statutes, regulations, court rules, ethics rules, case law, ethics opinions, and secondary sources.
  • State, city and county bar journals contain articles that are written by practicing attorneys in that state. These bar journals can be a particularly rich source of articles on the legal ethics rules which are specific to that jurisdiction. Note that not all jurisdictions will have a bar journal. You can find  federal, state, city, and county bar journals on Lexis and Westlaw from the 1990s - current. For historical coverage starting with v. 1, use HeinOnline.
  • State bar association websites are a good place to go to see what ethics rules have been recently amended or are under consideration to be amended. 

Cases: Search state case law databases for ethics cases that have been adjudicated in state courts. 

Statutes: Search relevant statutes and court rules for the legal issues you are researching in your jurisdiction.  Some annotated state statutes will include ethics opinions in the case annotations. 

Bar Journals: State, city and county bar journals contain articles that are written by practicing attorneys in that state. These bar journals can be a particularly rich source of articles on the legal ethics rules which are specific to that jurisdiction. Note that not all jurisdictions will have a bar journal. You can find  federal, state, city, and county bar journals on Lexis and Westlaw from the 1990s - current.

  • On Lexis and Westlaw, bar journals are searchable under the broader category of law reviews and journals
  • On Lexis and Westlaw you can also identify a state, narrow by secondary sources, narrow by publication type = law reviews and journals, and then identify and search in bar journals published by bar associations in that state.
  • For historical coverage  of bar journals starting with v. 1 use HeinOnline.

 

State Ethics Opinions: Remember that State Ethics Opinions are advisory, but not binding. Lexis and Westlaw do not carry ethics opinions for all jurisdictions - check for coverage: