ORS 9.460
Duties of attorneys

An attorney shall:


Support the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this state;


Employ, for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to the attorney, such means only as are consistent with truth, and never seek to mislead the court or jury by any artifice or false statement of law or fact;


Maintain the confidences and secrets of the attorney’s clients consistent with the rules of professional conduct established pursuant to ORS 9.490 (Formulation of rules of professional conduct); and


Never reject, for any personal consideration, the cause of the defenseless or the oppressed. [Amended by 1989 c.1052 §9; 1991 c.726 §5]

Notes of Decisions

Attorney-client privilege is not meant to protect discussion of future crime or fraud designed to conceal past wrongdoing even if the crime could not be prevented by disclosure. State v. Phelps, 24 Or App 329, 545 P2d 901 (1976)

Where attorney’s delay in handling probate of estate was inexcusable, and such delay was compounded by misrepresentations to the court, attorney was suspended from practice of law for period of thirty days. In re Hedges, 280 Or 155, 570 P2d 73 (1977)

Where attorney who was indicted for wilfully failing to file timely income tax returns pleaded guilty to one charge and remaining charges were dismissed, his failure to file returns violated duty to uphold laws of United States as required by this section. In re DesBrisay, 288 Or 625, 606 P2d 1148 (1980)

Where attorney for guardian petitioned for permission to use proceeds of guardianship estate to purchase real estate interests for benefit of wards and deliberately failed to advise court that property being purchased was then owned by conservator, attorney was in violation of this section. In re Greene, 290 Or 291, 620 P2d 1379 (1980)

Intentional violation of prohibition against misleading court or jury by artifice or false statement did not create private cause of action for damage to reputation or attorney fees. Bob Godfrey Pontiac v. Roloff, 291 Or 318, 630 P2d 840 (1981)

Attorney violated this section where, in representing creditor whose debt was due upon sale of land, attorney wilfully concealed from court that sale was pro forma. In re Hiller, 298 Or 526, 694 P2d 540 (1984)

Where untruthfulness of lawyer cannot be said to have arisen for purpose of maintaining client’s cause, this section does not come into play. In re Willer, 303 Or 241, 735 P2d 544 (1987)

Where attorney, who represented client in guardianship proceedings misled probate court by preparing and submitting to court document he knew to contain false statements, attorney violated this section. In re Hawkins, 305 Or 319, 751 P2d 780 (1988)

Attorney’s violation of duty to exercise reasonable care in preserving client secrets is not grounds for suppressing evidence. State v. Charlesworth/Parks, 151 Or App 100, 951 P2d 153 (1997), Sup Ct review denied

Offense for purposes of ORS 9.527 that is misdemeanor involving moral turpitude or felony cannot also be willful violation of provision requiring that attorney support laws of state. In re Allen, 326 Or 107, 949 P2d 710 (1997)

Attorney General Opinions

Private attorney’s liability in performing duty of reporting child abuse, (1978) Vol 38, p 2039

Law Review Citations

74 OLR 665 (1995)


Last accessed
May 30, 2023