Informal Ethics Opinions

Informal Ethics Opinions

The Committee on Professional Ethics issues two types of advisory opinions. Formal Opinions, published here, provide general guidance to lawyers admitted to practice in New York state concerning their obligations under the New York Rules of Professional Conduct (the "New York Rules"). Informal Opinions are issued in response to specific inquiries by lawyers admitted to practice in New York state, and are not published on the New York City Bar website.

Before requesting an written informal opinion, please consider calling the Ethics Hotline for assistance in answering your question. If you still require a written opinion after speaking with a hotline volunteer, you may submit your request to: New York City Bar Association, Attn: Committee on Professional Ethics, 42 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036; or by email at: ethicsinquiries@nycbar.org

Please be aware of the following guidelines before requesting an Informal Opinion:

  • To request an Informal Opinion, you must be admitted to practice law in New York state. You do not need to be a member of the New York City Bar Association.
  • The Committee provides guidance concerning the inquiring lawyer's own prospective conduct under the New York Rules. The Committee does not answer questions about past conduct or the conduct of other lawyers.
  • The Committee does not provide legal advice or answer questions of law.
  • The Committee does not answer questions about the unlicensed practice of law (UPL). UPL is governed by statutory law, not the New York Rules and is, therefore, outside the Committee's jurisdiction.
  • The Committee does not answer questions that are the subject of a pending legal proceeding or are before a grievance committee.
  • The Committee does not accept anonymous inquiries. Lawyers who request an Informal Opinion must provide their full name and telephone numbers.
  • The Committee cannot provide a concrete deadline for issuing an Informal Opinion. If your matter is urgent, you may wish to retain ethics counsel.