Ethics and Professional Responsibility

Please note: The NJSBA makes no representations or recommendations in connection with any of the information listed and is providing the information as a resource guide only. The information is general in nature, may not be applicable to all situations, and should not be construed as legal advice.


Ethics and professional responsibility are key underpinnings of the legal profession.

Being a lawyer means being held to a higher standard. Members of the public must have faith that lawyers will handle their matter with the highest level of skill and with highest level of attention to ethical guidelines.

As the New Jersey Commission on Professionalism in the Law puts it: “Adherence to standards of professional responsibility, along with a broad respect for the law, is a hallmark of an enlightened and effective system of justice. The conduct of lawyers and judges should be characterized at all times by professional integrity, personal courtesy and absence of bias in the fullest sense of those terms.”

The NJSBA knows how important these ideals are and also knows that sometimes it is necessary to get some help with practice-related issues, such as trust accounting and other topics that aren’t necessarily taught in law school.

NJSBA resources

The New Jersey State Bar Association has a vast array of information and resources to help attorneys meet their professional obligations.

PracticeHQ

NJSBA members have access to a library of practice guidance in our PracticeHQ portal. There, members can review whitepapers, comparison charts, and book consultations, including information on trust accounting. Some of the resources include a checklist on bank reconciliations and whitepapers on basic accounting information that lawyers need to know and client trust funds. Members must login to njsba.com to access the full PracticeHQ library.

Among the resources are:

“Basic Accounting Information You Need to Know.” Read it here.

“Why You Need an Accounting Program.” Read it here.

An array of information about time, billing and accounting, such as trust account reconciliation summaries, year-end checklists, law firm financial reporting information and more. See it all here.

Here is a video about the importance of professional malpractice information.

Solo and Small-Firm Attorneys and New Lawyers

Get all the details here from our Solo and Small-Firm Resource Guide about what solo and small-firm attorneys need to know.

New Attorney Information

Becoming a new attorney in New Jersey can be overwhelming. We’ve put together some basic information on what you need to know. Find it all here.

How to be Prepared for a Medical Crisis or Disaster 

Preparedness Checklist

Sample Letters for Colleagues, Clients and the Courts

Succession Planning Information

The Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund created a handbook to assist lawyers in the process of creating a succession plan; the book, entitled Planning Ahead: A Guide to Protecting Your Clients’ Interests in the Event of Your Disability or Death. Download it here.

NJSBA Disaster Preparedness Guide

New Jersey Lawyer

The award-winning publication of the NJSBA includes practice tips on ethics.

Here are some of those articles:

Get Insights on the DRB: Here is a primer on the state Disciplinary Review Board. Read on to find out how its decisions affect the type of discipline imposed on lawyers.

Exhibits, eCourts and EthicsCheck out this overview of how to handle eCourts filings and exhibits, as well as the requirements for electronic submissions in civil and criminal matters.

Are There Exceptions for the Attorney-Client Privilege and Legal Malpractice?New Jersey Lawyer looks at the intersection between legal malpractice and the attorney-client privilege. Find out when the privilege is lost.

Cannabis Law Developments and Ethics Issues: With the legalization of adult-use marijuana, find out what ethics and professional responsibility issues a practicing attorney may face.

New Jersey Lawyer Looks at Conflicts: Conflicts of interest are the source of many grievances and malpractice claims. Always be vigilant in checking for possible conflicts and understanding your ethical obligations. Here is a brief look at two Rules of Professional Conduct, promulgated by the New Jersey Supreme Court, that address conflicts.

Getting Off to a Good Start with Clients: To be well informed of an attorney’s responsibilities and avoid either an ethics grievance or a malpractice lawsuit, they must be well-versed in the Rules of Professional Conduct. Here is a look at the rules regarding scope of representation and fees.

New Jersey Judiciary resources

Ethics research assistance hotline

There is a telephone number to call for attorney ethics research assistance. The hotline is: (609) 815-2924. Attorneys can call about ethics or advertising issues related to their own, prospective conduct. Callers will be asked to leave a message, and the call will be returned.

Office of Attorney Ethics

The Office of Attorney Ethics is here.

It’s “Outline of Record Keeping Requirements Under RPC 1.15 and R.1:21-6” is here.

Rules

Rules governing the courts of the state of New Jersey can be found here.

Information about the ethics system is here.

Rules about fee arbitration are here.

Rules about recordkeeping are here.

Additional legal community resources

Mental health and professional well-being assistance

All lawyers, judges, law students, and graduates in the state have access to its services. NJLAP is a free, confidential program that can help attorneys with practice issues, as well as those who are confronting issues like depression, anxiety, or substance abuse that may have long-term implications on the day-to-day operations of their law office. Visit njlap.org.

To help stem the troubling decline in mental health and wellness among New Jersey’s legal practitioners, the New Jersey State Bar Association is proud to roll out new a Member Assistance Program (MAP) that provides access to trained, experienced mental health professionals and resources.

Powered by mental health resource provider Charles Nechtem Associates, the free confidential service offers 24/7 phone, text or mobile access to a mental health professional with at least seven years of experience, who will provide individual counseling and connect members with a wellness library of more than 25,000 self-help resources. The program is now available to all NJSBA members and those in their households.

The program aims to ease the difficult proposition attorneys face in accessing quality mental health care. Many are forced to either wait months for an appointment with a practitioner who accepts the right insurance, or pay out-of-pocket to expedite the process.

Along with the 24/7 phone access, MAP also offers up to three free face-to-face counseling sessions for all members and those in their household per issue they face. Phone, email and virtual counseling sessions and consultations are unlimited. As part of the service, each client receives a comprehensive behavioral risk assessment to diagnose the nature and severity of the issue and a treatment plan. If further counseling or treatment is needed, referrals are made to providers within the client’s insurance network or to providers who will take reduced fees if the client is uninsured.

Contact MAP Counselors Anytime

1-800-531-0200: Phone counseling services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year with immediate access to clinicians. Access to English and Spanish speaking therapists, with other languages upon request.

Text via the CNA app: Available from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Connect via the website, Click “Member Login” and log in as a new user. The employer is NJSBA.

Email: Reach out to .

IOLTA-NJ

The IOLTA Fund of the Bar of New Jersey has a wealth of information about trust accounting.

Here is a FAQ about the organization and what it does.
Here are some tips about registration, banking and how to address questions.

USI Affinity

USI Affinity is an insurance broker whose services are available to NJSBA members. USI represents ALL insurance companies in New Jersey and has specialized in working with attorneys for over 50 years.

Read on for three helpful tip sheets:

Risk Management Advisory Sheet

Risk Management Tips for Lawyers

Lawyers’ Professional Liability Checklist

About


Founded in 1899, the NJSBA is the largest organization of attorneys, judges and legal professionals in New Jersey. At the core of our mission is improving the lives of our members, advancing the rule of law and serving as the voice of the profession. With 85 sections and committees, the NJSBA allows attorneys to benefit from being part of the most wide-reaching legal association in the state, while still cultivating expertise and building networks within specialized practice areas.

MORE ABOUT NJSBA

Diversity


The New Jersey State Bar Association is committed to promoting and fostering a diverse and inclusive bar association. The Association recognizes that the broad concept of diversity includes race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age and disability. The NJSBA fosters and promotes an inclusive environment that gives value to the unique contributions of diverse individuals and organizations in all aspects of the Association.

Learn More

Advocacy


The NJSBA Legal and  Government Affairs Department serves as the liaison between NJSBA members and the state’s three branches of government.

Directions

The New Jersey Law Center is located at 1 Constitution Sq, New Brunswick, NJ, 08901. Need directions to the Law Center? Click on the button below to get started right away.

Contact NJSBA

NJSBA Contact Us Form
If you're looking for an attorney, click here for help.

If you cannot afford an attorney and have a civil matter, click here for Legal Services of New Jersey.

Looking for information about a specific lawyer? Contact the Lawyer’s Fund for Client Protection at 855-533-3863.

Have a complaint about a lawyer? Visit the Office of Attorney Ethics website. Select “Attorney Discipline” from the navigation bar for discipline of attorneys.

Contact Info

One Constitution Square
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

732-249-5000
9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday - Friday

Fax 732-249-2815

Email us

NJSBA Meetings and Events Calendar


From section, committee and division meetings with valuable CLE credit, to receptions and dinners and special events, the New Jersey State Bar Association regularly holds meetings so our members can meet their mandatory CLE requirements and network with the state’s largest attorney membership.

View Calendar

2024 Annual Meeting & Convention


The New Jersey State Bar Association is thrilled to announce the 2024 Annual Meeting & Convention will be held at the Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa May 15-17

For more information, or to register today, visit the links below:

View more information

2024 Mid-Year Meeting


The New Jersey State Bar Association is thrilled to announce the 2024 Mid-Year Meeting will be held at The Shelbourne Hotel, Nov. 2-9

For more information, or to register today, visit the links below:

View more information

Practice HQ Training Events


Lawyers aren't taught practice management skills, and the NJSBA is here to fill the gap — no matter whether you are just starting out, mid-career or thinking about wrapping up their practices. Our PracitceHQ is here to help with webinars, informative articles, free consultations, comparison charts and so much more.

Practice HQ Training Events

Decisis


The new NJSBA member benefit Decisis will help you level-up your legal research.

Decisis gives members access to a robust database of local and federal case law is necessary information often used to structure your case. Decisis provides industry-leading tools to make legal research easier and more intuitive, and it’s a free benefit to all active New Jersey State Bar Association members.

Decisis Training Events

Networking Events


The NJSBA provides a host of networking events so members can maintain relationships with existing colleagues and make new connects. Join us at a baseball game, the hockey arena, for a community service project, or another event.

Upcoming Networking Events

Benefits Of Membership


As a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA), you will join a powerful network of 16,000 legal professionals across the state of New Jersey. NJSBA membership grants you access to year-round virtual and in-person networking events, leadership and professional development opportunities, member-only discounts, educational resources to help you stay in the know and much more!

Practice Management Tools


The NJSBA provides tools lawyers need to improve their practice, from our comprehensive PracticeHQ library of resources; a career center to find your next colleague or opportunity; an intuitive and high-powered legal research platform; and a robust Member Assistance Program to connect members, and those who live in their households, with experienced counselors and resources to address mental health needs.

 

Advocacy


As an NJSBA member, you'll become part of the collective power of the NJSBA network, giving you the ability to influence legislation and caselaw in New Jersey. Let’s work together to shape the future and solve critical issues facing attorneys and the public.

Become a Member Today!

Networking


Membership helps you build and maintain a powerful network through our in-person and online events with attorneys all over the state.

 

Become a Member Today!

Become A Partner Organization


The New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) offers an exclusive partnership opportunity to amplify your organization’s impact and drive success. By harnessing the power of the NJSBA legal community, you can connect with our vibrant network of 16,000 legal professionals from 35+ different areas of practice, unlocking unparalleled opportunities for growth and achievement.

 

News and Press Publications


Learn more about the accomplishments of the Association, its members and events from regular news updates, press releases, and our award-winning magazine.


 

Reports


Read the comments, reports, resolutions and Board of Trustee news from the state’s largest organization of lawyers, judges and legal professionals.


 

Statements and Positions


The NJSBA is the voice of the profession and takes public positions on a range of issues with the legal community and government officials. It also takes positions on legislation and files friend-of-the-court briefs on matters that impact the profession. 

Photo Galleries


Check out photos from recent NJSBA events.

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