Integrity and Personal Conscience Guide Ethical Lawyers

The Preamble to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct acknowledges an inherent limitation of any set of behavior rules: They can never envision or predict all the situations that should invoke the rules. Accordingly, the Model Rules appeal to a lawyer's integrity or "personal conscience" to fill gaps, resolve ambiguities and conflicts, and serve as an additive layer atop the minimally acceptable conduct decreed by the Model Rules.

The preamble says, "A lawyer is also guided by personal conscience and the approbation of professional peers. A lawyer should strive to attain the highest level of skill, to improve the law and the legal profession and to exemplify the legal profession's ideals of public service."

Brian Martin

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