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Ethics and Professional Responsibility

This research guide provides an overview of legal ethics and professional responsibility.

Overview of Ethics Opinions

The ABA and state bar associations issue ethics opinions in response to attorney requests for advice. These advisory opinions help attorneys better understand ethical conduct under the Model Rules or Model Code.

Though not legally enforceble, these opinions show how a bar association has interpreted a particular rule or code. There are both formal and informal opinions, where formal opinions pertain to matters of general interest to the bar, while informal opinions pertain to specific factual situations.

ABA Ethics Opinions

The ABA's Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility issues formal and informal ethics opinions. Sources for these opinions include:

State Ethics Opinions

Georgia Ethics Opinions

In Georgia since 1986, the process of drafting ethics opinions starts with the Formal Advisory Opinions Board of the State Bar of Georgia. The Board drafts a proposed advisory opinion and, after receiving comments and feedback from the legal community, files the opinion with the Supreme Court of Georgia. The Court reviews the proposal and, if adopted, issues a Formal Advisory Opinion.

Overview of Disciplinary Actions

State discipline boards issue disciplinary actions against attorneys who violate the ethics rules of their prospective states.

These disciplinary actions, which include reprimands, suspensions, formal admonitions, or disbarment, can be made public or kept confidential. If made public, attorney disciplinary actions are usually published in state bar journals. Many states also publish disciplinary actions on state bar association or state judicial websites.

Georgia Disciplinary Actions

Use the following to locate state attorney disciplinary actions from Georgia:

State Disciplinary Actions

To locate state attorney disciplinary actions:

  • Search the state court's webpage 
  • Search the state bar association's webpage

Find disciplinary actions from every state using:

Disclaimer: The views and opinions of the authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the State of Georgia, and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes. Georgia State University College of Law and the authors of the works contained on this website do not assume or accept any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, currentness, or comprehensiveness of the content on this website. The content on this website does not in any manner constitute the issuance of legal advice or counsel. The information on this website is intended to provide resources that may aid the research of the topics presented, and are in no way a comprehensive list of sources one should consult on the topics presented. Please note that case law, statutory law, and administrative law may be modified and/or overturned. Additionally, because the laws vary between jurisdictions, the laws referred to herein may or may not be applicable to the law within the reader’s jurisdiction.