The Committee on Professional Ethics

This Committee is separate from the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, and has no jurisdiction over past conduct of Delaware attorneys, disciplinary matters, and/or issues concerning the unauthorized practice of law.

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ABOUT THE COMMITTEE

The Committee on Professional Ethics is a Standing Committee of the Delaware State Bar Association (the “Association”).  This Committee:

  • handles inquiries from Members of the Delaware Bar concerning their own prospective conduct,
  • reviews and recommends proposed changes to the Delaware Rules of Professional Conduct;
  • and participates in the presentation of CLE seminars relating to legal ethics.

In connection with these responsibilities, the Committee issues formal opinions on legal ethical issues, which are available below.

OFFICE OF DISCIPLINARY COUNSEL

The DSBA Ethics Committee is NOT an arm of the Supreme Court of Delaware but works closely with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (“ODC”).

ODC offers a number of resources for assisting attorneys with legal ethics questions and concerns:

ETHICS HOTLINE –

ODC provides informal non-binding guidance to a lawyer regarding compliance with the Rules.

To use the hotline, one must:

  • CONTACT ODC (click HERE) for that office’s website and contact info.
  • ADVISE THE RECEPTIONIST that you are making a hotline call.

OR CONTACT THE HOTLINE EMAIL AT:  ARMS_ODC_EHOTLINE@delaware.gov

The request for guidance:

  • should RELATE to a lawyer’s contemplated PROSPECTIVE conduct.
  • is NOT seeking legal advice.
  • does NOT create attorney-client relationship.
  • is CONFIDENTIAL but a lawyer may waive confidentiality in any subsequent, related disciplinary matter in which that lawyer is a disciplinary respondent.
  • is bound by Administrative Directive No. 188

ODC FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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FORMAL COMPLAINTS TO ODC –

If one is filing a formal complaint about an attorney, one should access the ODC webpage by clicking below and following the instructions on that page.

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NOTE:  Any complaint involving a fee dispute could be handled by the DSBA Fee Dispute Committee.

REQUESTING AN OPINION:

INFORMAL OPINIONS BY EMAIL –

Only a Member of the Delaware Bar with an ethical inquiry concerning his or her own prospective conduct may contact the Committee by sending an email to delethicsinquiries@dsba.org.

FORMAL OPINIONS –

A request for a Formal Opinion requires that the inquiring attorney complete a  Request for LEO Form in PDF   or  Request for LEO Form in Microsoft Word which may be emailed to: delethicsinquiries@dsba.org.

INDEX OF PREVIOUS OPINIONS

The Committee has compiled an INDEX with a summary of Ethics Opinions from 1978-2013 to facilitate your research.  Click the button link below to review those opinions.

NOTE:  Ethics Opinions are not issued every year.

 

COMMITTEE OPINIONS

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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

  • ETHICALLY SPEAKING ARTICLES
    • Additional analysis and/or commentary of the Rules of Professional Conduct are contained in the Ethically Speaking column in past publications of the Bar Journal, and summaries of those past articles are summarized annually in the January issues of the Bar Journal.