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Ethical Lawyering: California Ethics Rules

About California Ethics Rules

California ethics rules are available:

  • Free online from the California government
  • In print as part of Deering's California Codes Annotated and West's Annotated California Codes 
  • Online as part of Lexis' version of Deering's California Codes Annotated and Westlaw's version of West's Annotated California Codes 

Generally, it's best to access the rules on Lexis and Westlaw because they provide:

  • Annotations: Brief notes by Lexis and Westlaw staff identifying the most significant cases and other sources about the rule or statute. Found after the text of each rule or statute in print and on Lexis and under the Notes of Decision and Context & Analysis tabs on Westlaw.
  • Citators: Tools that automatically search for additional cases and other sources that cite the rule or statute. Found by clicking the Shepardize link in the right sidebar on Lexis and the Citing References tab on Westlaw.

California Business and Professions Code §§ 6000 et seq. (State Bar Act)

The California legislature regulates attorneys through the State Bar Act, published in the California codes at California Business and Professions Code §§ 6000 et seq. 

Business and Professions Code §§ 6000 et seq. is available from the following sources:

California Code of Judicial Ethics and Rules and Policy Declarations of the Commission on Judicial Performance

Judges in California are regulated by the California Code of Judicial Ethics. The Commission on Judicial Performance is responsible for investigating and disciplining judges, in accordance with its rules and policy declarations.

The materials regulating judges are available through the following sources:

Rules of the California State Bar and Rules of Professional Conduct

The State Bar of California produces the:

  • Rules of the State Bar: Governing the activities of the State Bar.
  • Rules of Professional Conduct: Establishing ethical standards for California attorneys.

The rules are available through the following sources:

California Rules of Court, Title 9

The California Rules of Court includes Title 9. Rules on Law Practice, Attorneys, and Judges.

The rules are available through the following sources:

Publication 250 of the California Compendium on Professional Responsibility