A person who practices law or within the field of law must adhere to some norm of morality in order to provide options and decisions that are justly right. This is especially true of lawyers who have the obligation to represent their client and their client’s interests to the best of their abilities. Thus, attorney ethics are a set of moral values that attorneys use to evaluate and render a decision.
Attorney ethics do not necessarily equate to the personal ethics of an attorney. Attorney ethics are a specialized type of business ethics that deal mainly with issues involving lawyers and the cases they handle. Some jurisdictions provide an actual guideline in terms of what moral standards to adhere to. In the United States, the Code of Professional Responsibility details the attorney ethics lawyers must adhere to if they practice in the United States. However, the International Bar Association also has their own International Code of Ethics that all lawyers must adhere to when practicing at any time in any place.
The purpose of attorney ethics is to provide attorneys with the proper moral behavior or a system of moral values to adhere by in their day-to-day work. This type of ethics is specialized because of the special function attorneys perform in representing people in settling their disputes. Attorney ethics play such a significant role in the function of attorneys that law students must undergo a legal ethics course and the Multi-State Professional Responsibility test before becoming a lawyer.