November 20, 2018

Index by Issue Dates

Latest Ethics Opinions

The most recent opinions issued within the past year are available complimentary.

Can't find what you're looking for? Contact ABA ETHICSearch for free research assistance.

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.  The opinions that have been withdrawn and are no longer available for purchase are 94-382, 93-372, and 92-368

Opinion collections are also available for purchase:

  • 1999-2013 - $67.95 Center members/$84.95 regular

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

2017

  • Formal Opinion 477: Securing Communication of Protected Client Information (May 11, 2017)

2016

  • 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

2015

  • 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

2014

  • 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

2013

  • 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

2011

  • 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

2010

  • Formal Opinion 10-457
    August 5, 2010
    Lawyer Websites
  • 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

2009

  • 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

2008

  • 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

2007

  • 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

2006

  • 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

2005

  • 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

2004

  • 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

2003

  • 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

2002

  • 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

2001

  • 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

2000

  • 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

1999

1998

  • 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

1997

1996

  • 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

1995

  • 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

1994

1993

1992

1991

1990

  • 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)

1988

1987

1985

1984

  • 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)