Permissive Rules of Professional Conduct

62 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2006

See all articles by Bruce A. Green

Bruce A. Green

Fordham University School of Law

Fred C. Zacharias

University of San Diego School of Law


This Article examines permissive rules of professional conduct - that is, rules providing that lawyers "may" engage in particular conduct - and the implications of these rules for other law governing lawyers. One might assume that, when a professional code explicitly authorizes lawyers to engage in certain behavior, the drafters normative judgment that the best way to regulate the conduct covered by the rule is to let lawyers determine how to act as a matter of individual discretion. One might also take the view that this normative judgment is worthy of respect and that other lawmakers should not encroach on the discretion accorded by the rules. This Article calls that view into question. It demonstrates that permissive aspects of the professional codes may be more limited than readily apparent and that, even when the code drafters intend to relegate issues to lawyers' discretion, their justifications for according discretion often leave room for external constraints.

Suggested Citation

Green, Bruce A. and Zacharias, Fred C., Permissive Rules of Professional Conduct. Minnesota Law Review, Vol. 91, 2006; Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 951432. Available at SSRN:

Bruce A. Green (Contact Author)

Fordham University School of Law ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States
212-636-6851 (Phone)
212-636-6899 (Fax)

Fred C. Zacharias

University of San Diego School of Law

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics