Index by Issue Dates

Latest Ethics Opinions


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The following is the index of the Formal Ethics Opinions of the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility that can be purchased through the ABA bookstore. Simply click on the  next to each opinion to purchase a hard copy or pdf versions. The opinions that have been withdrawn and are no longer available for purchase are 94-382, 93-372, and 92-368

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For an additional resource, links to the Model Rules referenced in ABA ethics opinions can be found here.

Formal Opinion 476
December 19, 2016 
Confidentiality Issues when Moving to Withdraw for Nonpayment of Fees in Civil Litigation

Formal Opinion 475
December 7, 2016 
Safeguarding Fees That Are Subject to Division With Other Counsel

Formal Opinion 474
April 21, 2016 
Referral of Fees and Conflicts of Interest

Formal Opinion 473
February 17, 2016 
Obligations Upon Receiving a Subpoena or Other Compulsory Process for Client Documents or Information

Formal Opinion 472
November 30, 2015 
Communication with Person Receiving Limited-Scope Legal Services

Formal Opinion 471
July 1, 2015 
Ethical Obligations of Lawyer to Surrender Papers and Property to which Former Client is Entitled

Formal Opinion 470
May 20, 2015 
Judicial Encouragement of Pro Bono Service

Formal Opinion 469
November 12, 2014 
Prosecutors and Debt Collection Companies

Formal Opinion 468
October 4, 2014 
Facilitating the Sale of a Law Practice

Formal Opinion 467
September 8, 2014 
Managerial and Supervisory Obligations of Prosecutors Under Rules 5.1 and 5.3

Formal Opinion 466
April 24, 2014
Lawyers’ Reviewing Jurors' Internet Presence

Formal Opinion 465
October 21, 2013
Lawyers’ Use of Deal-of-the-Day Marketing Programs

Formal Opinion 464
August 19, 2013
Division of Legal Fees With Other Lawyers Who May Lawfully Share Fees With Nonlawyers

Formal Opinion 463
May 23, 2013
Client Due Diligence, Money Laundering, and Terrorist Financing

Formal Opinion 11-462
February 21, 2013
Judge’s Use of Electronic Social Networking Media

Formal Opinion 11-461
August 4, 2011
Advising Clients Regarding Direct Contacts with Represented Persons

Formal Opinion 11-460
August 4, 2011
Duty when Lawyer Receives Copies of a Third Party’s E-mail Communications with Counsel

Formal Opinion 11-459
August 4, 2011
Duty to Protect the Confidentiality of E-mail Communications with One’s Client

Formal Opinion 11-458
August 4, 2011
Changing Fee Arrangements During Representation

Formal Opinion 10-456
July 14, 2010
Disclosure of Information to Prosecutor When Lawyer's Former Client Brings Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Claim Between Law Firms

Formal Opinion 10-457
August 5, 2010
Lawyer Websites

Formal Opinion 09-455
October 8, 2009
Disclosure of Conflicts Information When Lawyers Move Between Law Firms

Formal Opinion 09-454
July 8, 2009
Prosecutor’s Duty to Disclose Evidence and Information Favorable to the Defense

Formal Opinion 08-453
November 19, 2008
In-House Consulting on Ethical Issues

Formal Opinion 08-452
October 17, 2008
Judges Soliciting Contributions for “Therapeutic” or “Problem-solving” Courts

Formal Opinion 08-451
August 5, 2008
Lawyer’s Obligations When Outsourcing Legal and Nonlegal Support Services

Formal Opinion 08-450
April 9, 2008
Confidentiality When Lawyer Represents Multiple Clients in the Same or Related Matters

Formal Opinion 07-449
August 9, 2007
Lawyer Concurrently Representing Judge and Litigant Before the Judge in Unrelated Matters

Formal Opinion 07-448
October 20, 2007
Appointed Counsel's Relationship to a Person Who Declines to be Represented

Formal Opinion 07-447
August 9 , 2007
Ethical Considerations in Collaborative Law Practice

Formal Opinion 07-446
May 5, 2007
Undisclosed Legal Assistance to Pro Se Litigants

Formal Opinion 07-445
April 11, 2007
Contact by Counsel with Putative Members of Class Prior to Class Certification

Formal Opinion 06-444
September 13, 2006
Permissibility Of Restrictive Covenants In Lawyer Agreements Concerning Benefits Upon Retirement

Formal Opinion 06-443
August 5, 2006
Contact With Inside Counsel of an Organization Regarding a Matter When the Organization is Represented in the Matter by Outside Counsel

Formal Opinion 06-442
August 5, 2006
Review and Use of Metadata

Formal Opinion 06-441
May 13, 2006
Ethical Obligations of Lawyers Who Represent Indigent Criminal Defendants When Excessive Caseloads Interfere With Competent and Diligent Representation (a service to the public defender community).

Formal Opinion 06-440
May 13, 2006
Unsolicited Receipt of Privileged or Confidential Materials: Withdrawal of Formal Opinion 94-382 (July 5, 1994)

Formal Opinion 06-439
April 12, 2006
Lawyer’s Obligation of Truthfulness When Representing a Client in Negotiation: Application to Caucused Mediation

Formal Opinion 06-438
February 10, 2006
Lawyer Proposing to Make or Accept an Aggregate Settlement or Aggregated Agreement

Formal Opinion 05-437
October 1, 2005
Inadvertent Disclosure of Confidential Materials:
Withdrawal of Formal Opinion 92-368 (November 10, 1992)

Formal Opinion 05-436
May 11, 2005
Informed Consent to Future Conflicts of Interest;
Withdrawal of Formal Opinion 93-37

Formal Opinion 05-435
December 8, 2004
Ethical Obligations of a Lawyer Who Represents a Liability Insurer Named in Litigation Who Simultaneously Represents a Client Against an Insured of the Liability Insurer

Formal Opinion 05-434
December 8, 2004
Lawyer Retained by Testator to Disinherit Beneficiary that Lawyer Represents on Unrelated Matters

Formal Opinion 04-433
August 25, 2004
Obligation of a Lawyer to Report Professional Misconduct by a Lawyer Not Engaged in the Practice of Law

Formal Opinion 04-432
January 14, 2004
Lawyer Arranging or Posting Bail for a Client

Formal Opinion 03-431
August 8, 2003
Lawyer's Duty to Report Rule Violations by Another Lawyer Who May Suffer from Disability or Impairment

Formal Opinion 03-430
July 9, 2003
Propriety of Insurance Staff Counsel Representing the Insurance Company and Its Insureds; Permissible Names for an Association of Insurance Staff Counsel

Formal Opinion 03-429
June 11, 2003
Obligations With Respect to Mentally Impaired Lawyer in the Firm

Formal Opinion 02-428
August 9, 2002
Drafting Will on Recommendation of Potential Beneficiary Who Also is Client

Formal Opinion 02-427
May 31, 2002
Contractual Security Interest Obtained by a Lawyer to Secure Payment of a Fee

Formal Opinion 02-426
May 31, 2002
Lawyer Serving as Fiduciary for an Estate or Trust

Formal Opinion 02-425
February 20, 2002
Retainer Agreement Requiring the Arbitration of Fee Disputes and Malpractice Claims

Formal Opinion 01-424
September 22, 2001
A Former In-House Lawyer May Pursue a Wrongful Discharge Claim Against Her Former Employer and Client As Long As Client Information Properly Is Protected

Formal Opinion 01-423
September 22, 2001
Forming Partnerships With Foreign Lawyers

Formal Opinion 01-422
June 24, 2001
Electronic Recordings by Lawyers Without the Knowledge of All Participants

Formal Opinion 01-421
February 16, 2001
Ethical Obligations of a Lawyer Working Under Insurance Company Guidelines and Other Restrictions

Formal Opinion 00-420
November 29, 2000
Surcharge to Client for Use of a Contract Lawyer

Formal Opinion 00-419 - (in its entirety) July 7, 2000
Use of Credit Cards for Payment of Legal Fees;
Withdrawal of Formal Opinions 320 (1968) and 338 (1974) and Informal Opinions 1120 (1969) and 1176 (1971)

Formal Opinion 00-418
July 7, 2000
Acquiring Ownership in a Client in Connection with Performing Legal Services

Formal Opinion 00-417
April 7, 2000
Settement Terms Limiting a Lawyer's Use of Information

Formal Opinion 00-416
April 7, 2000
Lawyer's Purchase of Accounts Receivable from Client

Formal Opinion 99-415
September 8, 1999
Representation Adverse to Organization by Former In-House Lawyer

Formal Opinion 99-414
September 8, 1999
Ethical Obligations When a Lawyer Changes Firms

Formal Opinion 99-413
March 10, 1999
Protecting the Confidentiality of Unencrypted E-Mail

Formal Opinion 98-412
September 9, 1998
Disclosure Obligations of a Lawyer Who Discovers That Her Client Has Violated a Court Order During Litigation 

Formal Opinion 98-411
August 30, 1998
Ethical Issues in Lawyer-to-Lawyer Consultation

Formal Opinion 98-410
February 27, 1998
Lawyer Serving as Director of Client Corporation

Formal Opinion 97-409
August 2, 1997
Conflicts of Interest:
Successive Government and Private Employment

Formal Opinion 97-408
August 2, 1997
Communication with Government Agency Represented by Counsel

Formal Opinion 97-407
May 13, 1997
Lawyer as Expert Witness or Expert Consutant

Formal Ethics Opinion 97-406
Conflicts of Interest: Effect of Representing Opposing Counsel in Unrelated Matter

Formal Opinion 97-405
April 19, 1997
Conflicts in Representing Government Entities

Formal Opinion 96-404
August 2, 1996
Client Under a Disability

Formal Opinion 96-403
August 2, 1996
Obligations of a Lawyer Representing an Insured Who Objects to a Proposed Settlement within Policy Limits

Formal Opinion 96-402
August 2, 1996
Propriety of Payments to Occurrence Witnesses

Formal Opinion 96-401
August 2, 1996
Lawyers Practicing in Limited Liability Partnerships

Formal Opinion 96-400
January 24, 1996
Job Negotiations with Adverse Firm or Party

Formal Opinion 96-399
January 18, 1996
Ethical Obligations of Lawyers Whose Employers Receive Funds from the Legal Services Corporation to their Existing and Future Clients when Such Funding is Reduced and when Remaining Funding is Subject to Restrictive Conditions

Formal Opinion 95-398
October 27, 1995
Access of Nonlawyers to a Lawyer's Data Base

Formal Opinion 95-397
September 18, 1995
Duty to Disclose Death of a Client

Formal Opinion 95-396
July 28, 1995
Communications with Represented Persons

Formal Opinion 95-395
July 24, 1995
Obligations of a Lawyer who Formerly Represented a Client in Connection with a Joint Defense Consortium

Formal Opinion 95-394
July 24, 1995
Settlement Agreement Restricting Lawyer's Right to Undertake Other Representations Against a Government Agency

Formal Opinion 95-393
April 24, 1995
Disclosure of Client Files to Non-Lawyer Supervisors

Formal Opinion 95-392
April 24, 1995
Sharing Legal Fees with a For-Profit Corporate Employer

Formal Opinion 95-391
April 24, 1995
Use of the Title "Judge" by Former Judge in the Practice of Law

Formal Opinion 95-390
January 25, 1995
Conflicts of Interest in the Corporate Family Context

Formal Opinion 94-389
December 5, 1994
Contingent Fees

Formal Opinion 94-388
December 5, 1994
Relationships Among Law Firms

Formal Opinion 94-387
September 26, 1994
Disclosure to Opposing Party and Court That Stature of Limitations Has Run

Formal Opinion 94-386
August 6, 1994
Citing of Unpublished Opinions Revised October 15, 1995 Where Court Rules Prohibit Such Usage

Formal Opinion 94-385
July 5, 1994
Subpoenas of a Lawyer's Files

Formal Opinion 94-384
July 5, 1994
Withdrawal by Lawyer Against Whom Opposing Counsel has Filed a Disciplinary Complaint

Formal Opinion 94-383
July 5, 1994
Use of Threatened Disciplinary Complaint Against Opposing Counsel

Formal Opinion 94-381
May 9, 1994
Restrictions on Right to Practice

Formal Opinion 94-380
May 9, 1994
Counseling a Fiduciary

Formal Opinion 93-379
December 6, 1993
Billing for Professional Fees, Disbursements and Other Expenses

Formal Opinion 93-378
November 8, 1993
Ex Parte Contacts with Expert Witnesses

Formal Opinion 93-377
October 16, 1993
Positional Conflicts

Formal Opinion 93-376
August 6, 1993
The Lawyer's Obligation Where a Client Lies in Response to Discovery Requests

Formal Opinion 93-375
August 6, 1993
The Lawyer's Obligation to Disclose Information Adverse to the Client in the Context of Bank Examination

Formal Opinion 93-374
June 7, 1993
Sharing of Court-Awarded Fees with Sponsoring Pro Bono Organizations

Formal Opinion 93-373
April 16, 1993
Contingent Fees in Civil Cases Based on the Amount of Money Saved for the Client

Formal Opinion 93-371
April 16, 1993
Restrictions on the Right to Represent Clients in the Future

Formal Opinion 93-370
February 5, 1993
Judicial Participatatin in Pretrial Settlement Negotiations

Formal Opinion 92-369
December 7, 1992
Disposition of Deceased Sole Practitioners' Client Files and Property

Formal Opinion 92-367
October 16, 1992
Lawyer Examining a Client as an Adverse Witness, Or Conducting Third Party Discovery of the Client

Formal Opinion 92-366
August 8, 1992
Withdrawal When a Lawyer's Services Will Otherwise be Used to Perpetrate a Fraud

Formal Opinion 92-365
July 6, 1992
Trade Associations as Clients

Formal Opinion 92-364
July 6, 1992
Sexual Relations with Clients

Formal Opinion 92-363
July 6, 1992
Use of Threats of Prosecution in Connection With a Civil Matter

Formal Opinion 92-362
July 6, 1992
Contact With Opposing Party Regarding Settlement Offer

Formal Opinion 91-361
July 12, 1991
Representation of a Partnership

Formal Opinion 91-360
July 11, 1991
Prohibition of Partnerships With Nonlawyers: Extrajurisdictional Effect

Formal Opinion 91-359
March 22, 1991
Contact With Former Employee of Adverse Corporate Party

Formal Opinion 90-358
September 13, 1990
Protection of Information Imparted by Prospective Client

Formal Opinion 90-357
May 10, 1990
Use of Designation "Of Counsel"; Withdrawal of Formal Opinion 330 (1972) and Informal Opinions 678 (1963), 710 (1964), 1134 (1969), 1173 (1971), 1189 (1971) and 1246 (1972)

Formal Opinion 88-356
December 16, 1988
Temporary Lawyers

Formal Opinion 87-355
December 14, 1987
Lawyer's Participation in For-Profit Prepaid Legal Service Plan

Formal Opinion 87-354
November 7, 1987
Lawyer's Use of Medical-Legal Consulting Firm

Formal Opinion 87-353
April 20, 1987
Lawyer's Responsibility With Relation To Client Perjury

Formal Opinion 85-352
July 7, 1985
Tax Return Advice; Reconsideration of Formal Opinion 314

Formal Opinion 84-351
October 20, 1984
Letterhead Designation of 'Affiliated' or 'Associated' Law Firms

Formal Opinion 84-350
May 7, 1984
Communications With Adverse Parties; Withdrawal of Formal Opinion 75 (1932) and Informal Opinions C-426 (1961), 524 (1962), 1140 (1970) and 1255 (1972)

Formal Opinion 84-349
May 7, 1984
Lawyer Confidentiality; Withdrawal of Formal Opinions 155 (1936) and 156 (1936)