In 1969 the Kentucky Supreme Court adopted the American Bar Association's Code of Professional Responsibility as the disciplinary rules binding upon attorneys practicing in the state. The Court adopted the Code as an apparent attempt to provide the Kentucky bench and bar the certainty and guidance offered by a codification of the frequently subjective and occasionally nebulous body of law known as legal ethics. The Court used particular language in its rule adopting the Code, however, which renders uncertain the precise status of the Code in Kentucky. As a result, a conscientious practitioner in Kentucky cannot confidently look to the Code for resolution of ethical problems.
The area of client solicitation by attorneys illustrates the uncertainty created by the Court's ambivalent adoption of the Code. Even though the Code was drafted by the American Bar Association partially in response to the problem of solicitation and even though the Code deals with the practice quite explicitly, the Kentucky Court's peculiar language adopting the Code leaves the matter disturbingly unsettled.
This Article examines the language used by the Kentucky Court in adopting the Code of Professional Responsibility and the uncertainty it creates in regulating legal ethics in the state.
It then traces the erratic pre-Code treatment of solicitation in Kentucky to illustrate the confusion which unfortunately survives the new rule. Finally, the conclusion suggests that the treatment of solicitation and the status of the Code in Kentucky can be clarified only by amending the Supreme Court's rule adopting the Code.
Eugene R. Gaetke, Solicitation and the Uncertain Status of the Code of Professional Responsibility in Kentucky, 70 Ky. L.J. 707 (1982).