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Legal ethics refers to those norms that regulate the members of the legal profession in the practice of law. The concept refers to two distinct yet interrelated kinds of norms: first, those principles and rules specified in the professional codes of conduct and the various statutes that formally govern the practice of law; and second, those moral or public interest norms and principles, not necessarily codified, that ought to govern the practice of law.

The first meaning refers to actual ethics codes as well as state and federal statutes that regulate the practice of law. An example of such practical regulation of the legal profession includes the American Bar Association's Model Rules (or some variation on these) adopted by the state bar associations. Practical regulation of ...

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