Explanation of the Names and Formats for Ethics Opinions
"RPCs," are ethics opinions promulgated under the now-superseded (1985) Rules of Professional Conduct (effective from January 1, 1986, until July 24, 1997). The ethics opinions adopted under the Revised Rules of Professional Conduct (effective July 24, 1997) follow the RPCs and are designated as "Formal Ethics Opinions." Each RPC bears the identifying number assigned to it at the time of its initial publication in the State Bar's quarterly publication. The Formal Ethics Opinions, on the other hand, are identified by the last two digits of the year of initial publication in the State Bar Journal and are numbered serially. After the designation for each opinion is the date upon which the Council of the North Carolina State Bar adopted the opinion, a topical headnote, a short summary of the opinion, and the full text of the opinion itself. Please note that the head note and the summary are unofficial and provided only as research aids.
Editor's notes are provided for some opinions. These notes provide information on the genesis of the opinion or references to related opinions and rules. Although the RPCs were adopted under the superseded (1985) Rules of Professional Conduct, they still provide guidance on issues of professional conduct except to the extent that a particular opinion is overruled by a subsequent opinion or by a provision of the Revised Rules of Professional Conduct. A researcher should check the text of the Revised Rules as well as the ethics opinion index to be sure that all subsequent history is considered.
Click here for questions and answers on How the State Bar Rules on Questions of Legal Ethics.