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Professional Responsibility Resource Guide: Secondary Sources

West Topic and Key Numbers

West Key Numbers

West's Topic and Key Number system is a unique tool to help you in your legal research.  Once you find a topic and key number that represents the legal issue, you can use the relevant "key" to find related materials.  You can do key number searches on Westlaw.

Some relevant key numbers are:

46H Attorneys and Legal Services

  • Duties and Liabilities to Client
    • k501-k620
  • Duties and Liabilities to Non-Clients
    • k621-650
  • Actions and Proceedings Against Attorneys
    • k651-k710
  • Standards of Professional Conduct, Ethical Obligations  
    • k711-k930
  • Enforcement of Professional Standards; Discipline
    • k931-k1190
  • Disqualification of Attorneys
    • k1191-k1230
  • Liability of Attorneys for Litigation Costs and Sanctions
    • k1231-k1260
  • Criminal Liability of Attorneys
    • k1261-k1270

Lexis Headnotes

Lexis Headnotes

At the start of cases and other materials on Lexis, there will be a list of "headnotes." Much like Westlaw's key numbers, you can use headnotes to find other materials that contain similar topics such as legal ethics of professionalism. To find headnotes in your topic, simply do a search for your topic. When you find a material that is on the subject you are looking for, either scroll through the headnotes towards the beginning of the case or click the "Shepardize this document" link towards the side of the page. Headnotes that are related to your topic will be on the right hand column.

Treatises and Practice Materials

Treatises, Practice Materials, and Other Books

ALR's and Encyclopedias

American Law Reports

American Law Report (ALR) annotations are an amazing secondary source for gathering and analyzing caselaw from all jurisdictions: state and federal.  American Law Reports are available on Westlaw and Lexis.

Use the index to search for Ethics issues. Here are a few helpful keywords:

  • Attorney
  • Bar Admission
  • Malpractice
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Disbarment of Attorneys
  • Judges
  • Prosecuting Attorneys
  • Withdrawal of Counsel

Legal Encyclopedias

Legal encyclopedias give a broad summary of a legal topic with footnotes to primary sources. American Jurisprudence 2d (AmJur 2d) and Corpus Juris Secundum (C.J.S.) are the primary national legal encyclopedias. New York Jurisprudence 2d (NYJur 2d) is the legal encyclopedia for New York. Legal encyclopedias are available on Westlaw and Lexis.

Here are a few relevant topics and sections:

  • 7 Am. Jur. 2d, Attorneys at Law § 29
  • 7 C.J.S., Attorney and Client secs. § 71-73, 113
  • 7 N.Y. Jur. 2d, Attorneys at Law secs. §362-364

Law Review Articles

Law Review Articles

Law Review articles provide in-depth examination of legal issues and footnotes to primary and secondary sources.  Below are examples of relevant articles from law reviews, ABA journals, and New York Bar journals for professional responsibility topics.  (Articles have been linked to the full text article on HeinOnline.)