Ethics and Professional Conduct for Federal Government Attorneys - NR&E | Winter 2011
Federal government lawyers have to comply with more than one set of ethics rules—the same ethics rules as their private practitioner counterparts, as well as the ethics rules and considerations applicable only to those in government service. These rules are not always the same, and some carry criminal penalties. The article will examine some of the important ethical obligations of federal government attorneys under the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, 5 C.F.R. Part 2635, and the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which have been adopted by most states. In particular, this article will focus on outside activities, seeking/negotiating for employment, switching sides (entering or leaving federal service), and the Obama Ethics Pledge. Non-government lawyers thinking of entering federal service, federal government lawyers thinking of leaving federal service, and anyone thinking of hiring a federal government lawyer will benefit by knowing these rules.