When you hire an attorney to represent your case, you trust that they will carry out their duties with a sense of legal, ethical and moral authority. You may assume that the attorney will perform to their best ability to present the facts of your case and shed a good light on your situation. As a rule, attorneys in California are required to follow a set of legal standards as set by The State Bar of California’s Rules of Professional Conduct. Legal standards are documented as professional laws and statutes and may be enforced by certain penalties if one should disobey them. Designed to create standardization across legal settings, the Rules of Professional Conduct give attorneys a basis for acting in a professional and legal manner.
Ethical standards, on the other hand, may not always be enforced with legal penalties. Each situation may be different depending on the circumstances and how the ethics used in the case contribute to the matter at hand. These standards are based on what is right and wrong, as well as common knowledge of how someone should act in a particular situation. For example, if attorneys use their beliefs of what is right and wrong to alter the way they represent a case, this could have an ethical implication on the outcome of the case. In some cases, a jury may rule that the ethical shortcomings of the attorney have affected the case and you may be successful in winning a legal malpractice case.
This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.