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Professional Legal Ethics: A Comparative Perspective

CEELI Concept Paper Series

407 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2002  

Maya Goldstein Bolocan

Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative - Legislative Assistance and Research Program

Date Written: July 8, 2002


This paper explores and addresses the main issues surrounding the topic of professional legal ethics by comparing ethical and professional standards in the United States to those of select countries in western, as well as central and eastern Europe.

The paper provides an overview of the organization and the sources of regulation of the legal profession in the United States and Europe, briefly highlighting the main differences existing in lawyers' ethical standards in civil law and common law systems. It reviews the main standards of professional legal ethics in the United States, and compares them with those of European countries, especially where the approach taken is substantially different (e.g. conflict of interest, advertising, fees, communications, confidentiality).

In addition, this paper examines the lawyer disciplinary system in the United States, addressing briefly differences with its counterparts in Europe. Finally, this paper provides a description of the challenges posed by the increase in cross-border, transnational legal practice, and an overview of the ethical regulatory responses attempted so far in this field.

This work relies on the written contributions of experts in legal ethics, as well as on legislative and other legal materials gathered and translated by CEELI field offices throughout Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Suggested Citation

Goldstein Bolocan, Maya, Professional Legal Ethics: A Comparative Perspective (July 8, 2002). CEELI Concept Paper Series. Available at SSRN: or

Maya Goldstein Bolocan (Contact Author)

Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative - Legislative Assistance and Research Program ( email )

740 15th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20005-1019
United States
202-662-1597 (Fax)

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