The Ethics Hotline is a resource for lawyers only. All ethics advice is non-binding and intended only to be informational. However, reliance on telephonic ethics advice may be considered as a mitigating factor in a disciplinary proceeding.
Ethics Counsel advises only on the inquiring lawyer's own prospective conduct. Inquiries are confidential unless the inquiring lawyer requests disclosure or a court orders disclosure. The Ethics Hotline does not address professionalism matters, legal issues, or past conduct, nor does it provide an opinion or advice about the conduct of anyone other than the inquiring lawyer. Ethics Counsel does not provide advice via email and cannot convey advice through a paralegal or other assistant.
When Ethics Counsel is unavailable, calls are handled by the members of the Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct (Ethics Committee). The Ethics Committee is composed of approximately thirty volunteer lawyers and judges. Judges do not field ethics calls.
Ethics Hotline Number: 602.340.7284
Hours of Operation
The State Bar of Arizona's Ethics Hotline answers calls from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. If calling outside of these hours, you may leave a voicemail requesting a callback.
Ethics Hotline FAQs:
Q. Who answers the Ethics Hotline calls?
A. A staff member answers Ethics Hotline calls and provides the caller’s inquiry to Ethics Counsel. Ethics Counsel or a member of the Ethics Committee will call the inquiring attorney within one to two business days, excluding holidays. If your matter is time sensitive, Ethics Counsel will prioritize your call, but cannot guarantee an exact callback time.
Q. May I make an anonymous request for advice from the Ethics Hotline?
A. No. Inquiring attorneys are required to disclose name and bar number when calling the Hotline.
Q. Are calls to the Ethics Hotline confidential?
A. Yes. Ethics Counsel will not disclose any information relating to Ethics Hotline calls to anyone outside the Ethics Department unless (a) the inquiring attorney requests disclosure, (b) a court orders disclosure, or (c) the inquiring attorney discloses that he or she relied on advice from the Ethics Hotline in response to a disciplinary matter.
Q. Will the Ethics Department keep a record of my call?
A. Yes. Ethics Counsel will create a detailed log of the call, including date and time of the call, a summary of the caller’s question, and the advice provided. These records are maintained confidentially within the Ethics Department and cannot be accessed by other departments within the State Bar of Arizona.
Q. Does the Ethics Hotline issue binding opinions?
A. No. The opinions and advice of Ethics Counsel are provided for the inquiring attorney’s information only.
Q. Can I use my reliance on Ethics Hotline advice as a defense to a Bar charge?
A. No, but an attorney may use calls to the Ethics Hotline and reliance on Ethics Hotline advice as mitigating evidence during a disciplinary investigation.
Q. Can the Ethics Hotline provide a written opinion?
A. No. The Ethics Hotline provides telephonic advice only. The Ethics Hotline does not provide informal written opinions or advice via email.
Q. How do I request a formal written opinion?
A. All formal written opinions are issued by the Committee on the Rules of Professional Conduct (Ethics Committee). Requests for formal written opinions should be sent to the Ethics Department at the State Bar of Arizona’s Phoenix office.