The Code of Professional Responsibility is a set of rules governing the ethical conduct of attorneys in the practice of the law. It deals with issues such as conflicts of interest, honest disclosure with clients, confidentiality, and professional conduct toward other attorneys and the courts. Most states have adopted the Code.
The Canons of the Code are statements of axiomatic norms, expressing in general terms the standards of professional conduct expected of lawyers in their relationships with the public, with the legal system, and with the legal profession. They embody the general concepts from which the Ethical Considerations and the Disciplinary Rules are derived.
The Ethical Considerations are aspirational in character and represent the objectives toward which every member of the profession should strive. They constitute a body of principles upon which the lawyer can rely for guidance in many specific situations.
The Disciplinary Rules, unlike the Ethical Considerations, are mandatory in character. The Disciplinary Rules state the minimum level of conduct below which no lawyer can fall without being subject to disciplinary action.