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OBA Ethics Counsel

New Comprehensive Topical Index to Oklahoma’s Ethics Opinions

By Travis Pickens

A comprehensive topical ethics opinion index has now been posted online to the OBA website. The index consists of 32 single-spaced pages, covering more than 80 topics. There are more than 325 opinions indexed, going back to 1931. Several opinions are indexed under more than one topic. The opinions have historically been cited by assignment of a single number denoting the order the opinion was issued, starting with number one. For now, the opinions are indexed using that historical citation, but will shortly be re-cited using the citation style of ___OK LEG ETH ___, to reflect the year and order of issuance. In addition to that change, another improvement will include numbering the paragraphs within each opinion. Of course, the index will be updated periodically to reflect new opinions or editorial improvements.

A short description of the topic follows each opinion. The descriptive language included for each opinion is meant as a research aid only, not the conclusion or “holding” of the ethics panel on that particular topic, and it may not include every subject touched on by the opinion. Like case law, each opinion should be read in its entirety. The date, or best known date, of issuance is included in parentheses after each opinion.

The opinions will shortly be made available through the Oklahoma Supreme Court Network (OSCN). This will be effected by means of a link from the OSCN research pages to the OBA website. For now, all of the opinions can be found by typing the opinion number into the search box here.

The law of lawyering, our laws of ethics, has changed over the years, so attention must be paid to the time in which the opinion was written and authorized. For example, there was a day when advertising was universally seen as distasteful and was prohibited for lawyers. Of course, that thinking has changed, and the ethics opinions reflect that evolution. You will be pleased to know that some aspects of lawyering, (e.g. integrity) have never changed. That, too, is reflected in the opinions.

The new ethics opinion index may be accessed by going to and clicking on “Topical Index”. Any suggestions or comments to improve the quality of the index are welcome and may be sent directly to me at

Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal -- Aug, 9, 2014 -- Volume 85, No. 20.