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EthicsEthical Inquiries 

The Massachusetts Bar Association’s Committee on Professional Ethics publishes non-binding advisory opinions* that interpret the Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys who have specific ethical inquiries. The opinions of the committee cover a wide range of topics that affect the practice of law, including conflicts of interest, solicitation of business and issues relating to confidentiality. This service is free to members of the Massachusetts bar.

COVID-19 UPDATE: MBA Committee on Professional Ethics

The Massachusetts Bar Association realizes that ethical concerns arise in every attorney's practice even during this COVID-19 pandemic. Although the Massachusetts Bar Association's offices are closed, the MBA's Committee on Professional Ethics continues to be a valuable source of information for attorneys who have specific ethical inquiries. This service is free to members of the Massachusetts bar. Please see below for information on how to submit questions.

Submit Inquiries to the MBA Committee on Professional Ethics

All requests for ethical advice must be submitted in writing . Your inquiry must include:

  • A brief summary of the facts raising the ethical issue
  • The ethical problem as you see it
  • Whether there is an emergency requiring a rapid response

In accordance with the rules that govern the Committee on Professional Ethics, advice may not be rendered in instances where the matter is pending before a court or tribunal, contains a question of substantive law or unauthorized practice of law, pertains to a hypothetical scenario, or questions the conduct of another attorney.

Emergency Advice

Inquiries requiring emergency advice will be handled, when feasible, on an expedited basis by a single committee member. Emergency inquiries must be in writing , with an indication that your inquiry should receive emergency consideration.

*The committee only gives advice. It is not a governmental body and its advice has no binding force, although successive bar counsel have stated that as a general rule, they will not take disciplinary action against lawyers who follow the committee's advice if they have given the committee all the relevant facts. That, however, is a matter of bar counsel's policy, not of committee power. As might be expected when the subject matter involves sensitive questions of lawyers' obligations, bar counsel has very occasionally expressed public disagreement with the committee's views.