Standards of conduct for lawyers: An 800-year evolution

Abstract
In this article, Professor examine the evolution of modern concepts of proper professional conduct for lawyers. Professor Andrews looks at various forms of legal ethics standards, beginning with medieval European lawyer oaths and continuing to the ABA's most recent statement of standards in the "Ethics 2000 version of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct." She reports that the standards for centuries have reflected six "core duties" of lawyers - litigation fairness, competence, loyalty, confidentiality, reasonable fees, and public service. These six duties were the primary duties of lawyers in medieval England, and they continue as the central duties of modern lawyers under the ABA Model Rules. Ethics standards have evolved in subject matter, detail, and degree of enforcement, but the central elements of a lawyer's professional duty have remained substantially unchanged. Professor Andrews concludes by briefly assessing the meaning of both the continuation and the changes in the professional standards. Perhaps most important, the 800-year tradition of the core standards suggests that lawyers always have played an important role in society and that society demands integrity in that role.
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