Attorneys take on considerable responsibility when they agree to represent a client. They must carry out their duties with a high degree of professionalism.
All state bar associations have established rules governing professional responsibility, but most are largely based on the federal rules. As a part of admittance to the bar, most states require that aspiring attorneys complete a multiple-choice test covering these rules. Many states also require that attorneys complete Continuing Legal Education coursework, and CLE topics commonly address the attorney code of ethics.
There are resources available to attorneys who have an ethical question or concern about a representation. Many bar associations and local networks offer one-on-one confidential counseling to attorneys who are experiencing an ethical conflict.
Fulfillment of Ethical Duties
Attorneys must demonstrate integrity and honesty in serving their clients. Here are some examples of the most important obligations that attorneys must adhere to.
- Accept representations that they are qualified to handle
- Avoid conflicts of interest
- Manage client funds responsibly
Some states require attorneys to carry professional insurance as a part of fulfilling their ethical commitment to clients. This helps to assure that a client will have a remedy in the event that a breach of ethics causes a client harm.