Professional Ethics

Professional Ethics

Being Accountable to the Public

The Judicial Branch, like the Executive and Legislative Branches of government, must be accountable to the public. The Supreme Court is tasked with regulating the legal profession and the practice of law within the state, including admitting attorneys to the practice of law, overseeing lawyer discipline and maintaining standards of the profession by monitoring the unauthorized practice of law. Attorneys licensed to practice within the state and Nebraska’s judges are each governed by professional ethics rules as determined by the Nebraska Supreme Court.

It is the obligation of courts and probation to ensure that staff at all levels are competent, professional, fiscally responsible, and customer service oriented. The Supreme Court, through the Administrative Office of the Courts and Probation, establishes standards by which court and probation operations and performance can be measured.  The Administrative Office works to keep all branches of government and the public informed of Judicial Branch operations, programs, and initiatives; and to develop a clear strategic agenda that fosters public trust and confidence.

Confidence in our judges is at the heart of maintaining the public’s trust in the Judicial Branch. Allegations of misconduct by judges, lawyers, and staff are investigated and resolved timely and fairly.

Lawyer discipline is handled through the Nebraska Supreme Court Counsel for Discipline.  The office maintains a collection of ethics opinions for lawyers and also a public listing of sanctions against attorneys.  Lawyer conduct is guided by the Nebraska Rules of Professional Conduct  and the Nebraska Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Rules.  Nebraska lawyers are also subject to the provisions of Mandatory Continuing Legal Education rules and additional regulations for licensure.

Judges are subject to the Nebraska Code of Judicial Conduct and disciplined by the Judicial Qualifications Commission  through Judicial Qualifications Commission Public Reprimands or through Nebraska Supreme Court opinions.  Judges and court staff are required to participate in mandatory Judicial Branch Education.

As a protection to the public, the Supreme Court bars individuals who are non-lawyers from giving legal advice to members of the public and actively monitors reported activity through the Unauthorized Practice of Law Commission and Rules. As non-lawyers, these individual are not officers of the courts, are not accountable for their actions.

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