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California Legal Ethics: State Statutes & Rules

This guide outlines the state statutes and rules that govern attorney conduct in California. Print and electronic resources are listed as a means to provide the researcher with a general understanding of California legal ethics.

Useful Links

Model Rules of Professional Conduct

This title contains the ABA Model Rules and Model Code, tables relating Model Rules sections to Model Code sections, California Rules of Professional Conduct, California Code of Judicial Conduct, selected federal and California statutes, U.S. Supreme Court Rules, Aspirational Goals on Lawyer Advertising, and many other rules and standards.

California State Bar Act

The California State Bar Act is in the California Business & Professions Code §§ 6000 et seq. The Act sets out the parameters of the self-governing California State Bar including adopting of rules of professional conduct, authority to make disciplinary decisions, and admission to the bar.

You may read the act in one of the annotated codes in print or view the text on the Internet.

California Rules of Professional Conduct

California Rules of Professional Conduct. Approved by the California Supreme Court on November 28, 1988; operative May 27, 1989.

You can find the current version of the Rules and any cases construing them, in West’s California Code ( volume: Court Rules - State Bar) or Deering’s Annotated California Codes (volume: Rules of Court). Be sure to review the pocket parts for the most current version and cases. Call numbers are below.

California Rules of Court

California Rules of Court. Includes rules regulating the admission to practice law in California, State Bar Rules of Procedure, disciplinary proceedings, and specialized rules such as client security funds. California Court Rules are available in the sources listed below as well as in the Rules volumes of the Codes listed above.

Important Note About Access to Databases

Be sure to read the Access to Databases Guide carefully before beginning your research.

Deering's California Codes (via LexisNexis Academic Universe)

This is a subscription database available to all UC campuses.


This annual publication contains the California Rules of Professional Conduct, the State Bar Act, related constitutional provisions, related California Rules of Court, related statutes regarding discipline of attorneys and duties of members of the State Bar, lawyer referral service rules, minimum continuing legal education rules and pro bono resolution adopted by the State Bar Board of Governors.