State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 01-02
May a judicial officer serve on the Board of Directors for a non-profit county volunteer lawyers program which has attorney employees, but where none of the attorney employees appear before that judicial officer?
The judicial officer will not preside over any cases involving attorney employees of the program.
CJC Canon 3 provides that judicial duties should take precedence over all other activities. CJC Canon 4(C) provides that a judicial officer may serve as a director of an organization that is devoted to the improvement of the law, the legal system and the administration of justice. CJC Canon 4(C) permits a judicial officer to serve on the board for the county volunteer lawyer program because the program’s attorney employees will not be appearing before the judicial officer. If it is necessary for the judicial officer to recuse from hearing cases in which the program lawyers are appearing on a regular basis, the judicial officer should reconsider the appropriateness of serving on the board as CJC Canon 3 requires that judicial duties take precedence over all other activities.
Also see Opinions 92-1, 93-2 and 93-26.
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