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Legal Ethics: Massachusetts Resources


Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct

  • Former, Cannons of Ethics and Disciplinary Rules Regulating the Practice of Law (DR).

  • Adopted as Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:07

    The Rules of Professional Conduct were significantly amended on March 26, 2015, effective July 1, 2015. 

  • LAW STACKS, KFM2476.5.A2 M49 1997 (MCLE 1997).

  • Also available at the websites of Board of Bar Overseers/Office of the Bar Council (  and the Office of Reporter of Decisions of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (

  • Read "Comment" sections to have a clear understanding of rules.  Corresponding ABA Rule, corresponding  former Massachusetts Rule, and cross-reference are provided at the end of each Rule.

Decisions by the Supreme Judicial Court and the Board of Bar Overseers

Massachusetts Attorney Discipline Reports: Decisions of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts compiled by the Board of Bar Overseers


  • LAW STACKS, KFM2476.5.A2 A497  (1981-).

  • Covers all decisions of the Supreme Judicial Court full bench, the Supreme Judicial Court single justices, and the Board of Bar Overseers.

  • Also available at Social Law Library (1974-).

  • Also available at the Board of Bar Overseers Website at (1999-)

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

  • Summary.

ABA/BNA Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct (1984-)

  • It publishes digests of Massachusetts opinions from 1980 and provides coverage of new Massachusetts developments concerning professional conduct. Limited coverage of Massachusetts ethics opinions appears in National Reporter on Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility (1982-; available in BNAall and Lexis).



Opinions of the Committee on Professional Ethics, 1973-1993 (MCLE 1993).

LAW STACKS, KFM2476.5.A2 M37 1993.

Covers opinions between 1973 and 1993 and from 1998.

  • Opinions after 1973 are also available at the Ethics Opinion website of Massachusetts Bar Association. Keyword search is available.

  • Massachusetts Law Review (MBA, current awareness; 2001-)

  • Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (summary).

Free for the current issue at its website:

Access older articles through Lexis.

Boston Bar Association Ethics Opinions (1992-)


ABA/BNA Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct (1984-)

  • This is well-known among the nation's lawyers as the most authoritative source for news and guidance on virtually every aspect of attorney conduct and legal ethics. (1982-; available in BNAall and Lexis).

Ethical Issues for Legal Services Attorneys: Learn How to Effectively Serve Your Clients While Protecting Yourself (MCLE 2000).

  • Lynn A. Girton, et al.
  • LAW STACKS, KFM2476.5.A2 E74 2000.  

Ethical Lawyering in Massachusetts (MCLE 2009).

  • James S Bolan, et al., eds.
  • LAW STACKS, KFM2476.5.A2 E75 2009.  
  • Also available in Lexis.
  • A comprehensive MCLE treatise deals with legal ethics in detail and in a comprehensive way. Topics include sources of ethical authority, marketing, conflicts of interest, fee agreements, disciplinary process, etc.  It also further discusses duties depending on the objects such as clients, colleagues, courts, and third parties and discusses ethical issues depending on practice areas such as business, insurance defense, intellectual property, estate planning, family law, criminal law, government practice, etc. It provides table of cases, table of statutes and rules, and index.

Massachusetts Practice Series

  • LAW STACKS,  KFM2480 .M3 v.20A.  
  • Use general index to find encyclopedic articles; most of articles relating to legal ethics are listed under "Professional Conduct Rules." Massachusetts Rules of Professional conduct is included in Volume 41 Appellate Procedure. General introduction with case references, Author's Comments, and references to West's Key Numbers and C.J.S. articles are provided.

Massachusetts Professional Responsibility (LexisNexis 2003-)

  • Gilda Tuoni Russell.
  • Looseleaf available at Social Law Library.

Practicing Before the BBO: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Board of Bar Overseers

  • James S. Bolan, et al.
  • LAW STACKS, KFM2476.5.A2 P73 1994. 

The New Rules of Professional Conduct: The Impact on Ethical Practice in Massachusetts (MCLE 1998)
James S Bolan.

  • LAW STACKS, KFM2476.5.A2 N49 1998. 

Judicial Resources

Massachusetts Committee on Judicial Ethics

The Massachusetts Committee on Judicial Ethics issues advisory opinions for both judges and court clerks.

The State Ethics Commission is an independent state agency that administers and enforces the provisions of the conflict of interest law and financial disclosure law.