How to Request an Ethics Opinion

The Professional Ethics Committee and Judicial Ethics Committee provide advisory, nonbinding written ethics opinions.  To request a written ethics opinion, please send a confidential letter addressed to the chair of the Professional Ethics Standing Committee (PEC) or the Judicial Ethics Standing Committee (JEC) including:

  • The inquirer's name, address, telephone, and P#.
  • All relevant facts. The committee is not a fact-finding body and relies upon the facts presented in the inquiry.  See Rules of the Committee, Rule 7. a.
  • A clear and concise statement of the ethical question(s) for which an opinion is being sought.
  • A summary of the rules, opinions, caselaw and other authority that the inquirer has already consulted concerning the question(s) raised. See Rules of the Committee, Rule 5.
  • Ensure that your inquirer does not ask a legal question, about the conduct of another lawyer or judge, or the subject of an Attorney Grievance Commission investigation.

Written ethics opinions are researched and drafted by the committee and may take up to one year to complete. For faster inquiries, call the Ethics Helpline for a verbal, nonbinding opinion.

Please note that ethics opinions cannot be provided for inquiries that involve the following:

  • Past conduct of the inquirer.
  • Conduct of another attorney or judge. This type of conduct is solely within the jurisdiction of the Attorney Grievance Commission.
  • Questions of law.
  • Hypothetical inquiries.
  • Questions/Issues that are pending before the Attorney Grievance Commission.
  • Questions/Issues that are pending in a legal proceeding where the lawyer is a defendant.
  • Questions/Issues on the application of court rules.
  • Questions/Issues regarding a judicial decision. Attorneys should consult court rules as to their procedural remedies.
  • Questions about Unlicensed Practice of Law, which is governed by statutory law; not the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct.

Confidentiality—To encourage members to seek guidance and to facilitate open deliberations of the issues presented, requests for written ethics opinions, including the identity of the inquirer, identifying facts, and draft opinions, are confidential pursuant to Rule 6 of the Rules of the Committee.

Send the letter to:

Professional Ethics Standing Committee
State Bar of Michigan
306 Townsend St.
Lansing, MI 48933

Judicial Ethics Standing Committee
State Bar of Michigan
306 Townsend St.
Lansing, MI 48933