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Legal Ethics and the MPRE

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Introduction to Legal Ethics

The legal profession is largely self-governed, with its members taking oaths to adhere to certain ethical standards. In Illinois, those standards are codified in the Illinois Rules of Professional Responsibility and the Judicial Code of Conduct. These rules provide the framework by which the Illinois Supreme Court regulates the legal profession and, if necessary, disciplines attorneys and judges.

In order to ensure that prospective attorneys are familiar with principles of legal ethics, Illinois, and nearly all other states, require prospective lawyers to pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) before they can be licensed. The MPRE does not test students on Illinois' Rules specifically, but rather focuses on the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct and Model Code of Judicial Conduct, as well as other generally accepted ethical principles.

This guide provides information and resources relating to legal ethics and the MPRE. This page provides a means to compare the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct of 2010 with the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, as well as resources to access the text of each rule set in both print and electronic form. Other pages of this guide provide resources relating to the Illinois and ABA Codes of Judicial Conduct, resources for registering and preparing for the MPRE, and reference and research tools for students, practitioners, and scholars. 

Illinois and ABA Rules of Professional Conduct

When implementing the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct of 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court adopted the ABA Model Rules in many, but not all respects. This box provides links to both sets of rules for easy comparison. The rules are divided into categories based on the ABA Model Rules' table of contents. 

Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct
Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct: Scope Model Rules of Professional Conduct: Preamble and Scope

 

When implementing the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct of 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court adopted the ABA Model Rules in many, but not all respects. This box provides links to both sets of rules for easy comparison. The rules are divided into categories based on the ABA Model Rules' table of contents.

Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct
Rule 1.0 - Terminology Rule 1.0 - Terminology

 

When implementing the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct of 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court adopted the ABA Model Rules in many, but not all respects. This box provides links to both sets of rules for easy comparison. The rules are divided into categories based on the ABA Model Rules' table of contents. 

Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct
Rule 1.1 - Competence Rule 1.1 - Competence
Rule 1.2 - Scope of Representation and Allocation of Authority Between Client and Lawyer Rule 1.2 - Scope of Representation & Allocation of Authority Between Client & Lawyer
Rule 1.3 - Diligence Rule 1.3 - Diligence
Rule 1.4 - Communication Rule 1.4 - Communications
Rule 1.5 - Fees Rule 1.5 - Fees
Rule 1.6 - Confidentiality of Information Rule 1.6 - Confidentiality of Information
Rule 1.7 - Conflict of Interest: Current Clients Rule 1.7 - Conflict of Interest: Current Clients
Rule 1.8 - Conflict of Interest: Current Clients: Specific Rules Rule 1.8 - Current Clients: Specific Rules
Rule 1.9 - Duties to Former Clients Rule 1.9 - Duties to Former Clients
Rule 1.10 - Imputation of Conflicts of Interest: General Rule Rule 1.10 - Imputation of Conflicts of Interest: General Rule
Rule 1.11 - Special Conflicts of Interest for Former and Current Government Officers and Employees Rule 1.11 - Special Conflicts of Interest for Former & Current Government Officers & Employees
Rule 1.12 - Former Judge, Arbitrator, Mediator or Other Third-Party Neutral Rule 1.12 - Former Judge, Arbitrator, Mediator or Other Third-Party Neutral
Rule 1.13 - Organization as Client Rule 1.13 - Organization as Client
Rule 1.14 - Client with Diminished Capacity Rule 1.14 - Client with Diminished Capacity
Rule 1.15 - Safekeeping Property Rule 1.15 - Safekeeping Property
Rule 1.16 - Declining or Terminating Representation Rule 1.16 - Declining or Terminating Representation
Rule 1.17 - Sale of Law Practice Rule 1.17 - Sale of Law Practice
Rule 1.18 - Duties to Prospective Client Rule 1.18 - Duties to Prospective Client

 

When implementing the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct of 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court adopted the ABA Model Rules in many, but not all respects. This box provides links to both sets of rules for easy comparison. The rules are divided into categories based on the ABA Model Rules' table of contents. 

Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct
Rule 2.1 - Advisor Rule 2.1 - Advisor
Rule 2.2 - Reserved Rule 2.2 - Reserved
Rule 2.3 - Evaluation for Use by Third Persons Rule 2.3 - Evaluation for Use by Third Persons
Rule 2.4 - Lawyer Serving as Third-Party Neutral Rule 2.4 - Lawyer Serving as Third-Party Neutral

When implementing the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct of 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court adopted the ABA Model Rules in many, but not all respects. This box provides links to both sets of rules for easy comparison. The rules are divided into categories based on the ABA Model Rules' table of contents. 

Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct
Rule 4.1 - Truthfulness in Statements to Others Rule 4.1 - Truthfulness in Statements to Others
Rule 4.2 - Communicating with Persons Represented by Counsel Rule 4.2 - Communication with Person Represented by Counsel
Rule 4.3 - Dealing with Unrepresented Person Rule 4.3 - Dealing with Unrepresented Person
Rule 4.4 - Respect for Rights of Third Persons Rule 4.4 - Respect for Rights of Third Persons

 

When implementing the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct of 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court adopted the ABA Model Rules in many, but not all respects. This box provides links to both sets of rules for easy comparison. The rules are divided into categories based on the ABA Model Rules' table of contents.

Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct
Rule 6.1 - Reserved Rule 6.1 - Voluntary Pro Bono Publico Service
Rule 6.2 - Accepting Appointments Rule 6.2 - Accepting Appointments
Rule 6.3 - Membership in Legal Services Organization Rule 6.3 - Membership in Legal Services Organization
Rule 6.4 - Law Reform Activities Affecting Client Interests Rule 6.4 - Law Reform Activities Affecting Client Interests
Rule 6.5 - Nonprofit and Court-Annexed Limited Legal Services Programs Rule 6.5 - Nonprofit & Court-Annexed Limited Legal Services Programs

 

When implementing the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct of 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court adopted the ABA Model Rules in many, but not all respects. This box provides links to both sets of rules for easy comparison. The rules are divided into categories based on the ABA Model Rules' table of contents.

Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct
Rule 7.1 - Communications Concerning a Lawyer's Services Rule 7.1 - Communications Concerning a Lawyer's Services
Rule 7.2 - Advertising Rule 7.2 - Communications Concerning a Lawyer's Services: Specific Rules
Rule 7.3 - Solicitation of Clients Rule 7.3 - Solicitation of Clients
Rule 7.4 - Communication of Fields of Practice and Specialization Rule 7.4 - Deleted
Rule 7.5 - Firm Names and Letterheads Rule 7.5 - Deleted
Rule 7.6 - Reserved Rule 7.6 - Political Contributions to Obtain Legal Engagements or Appointments by Judges

 

When implementing the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct of 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court adopted the ABA Model Rules in many, but not all respects. This box provides links to both sets of rules for easy comparison. The rules are divided into categories based on the ABA Model Rules' table of contents.

Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct
Rule 8.1 - Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters Rule 8.1 - Bar Admission & Disciplinary Matters
Rule 8.2 - Judicial and Legal Officials Rule 8.2 - Judicial & Legal Officials
Rule 8.3 - Reporting Professional Misconduct Rule 8.3 - Reporting Professional Misconduct
Rule 8.4 - Misconduct Rule 8.4 - Misconduct
Rule 8.5 - Disciplinary Authority; Choice of Law Rule 8.5 - Disciplinary Authority; Choice of Law

 

Additional Resources for Accessing the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010)

The Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct can also be found in print form in: