State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 87-01
May a judge write a “to whom it may concern” letter on behalf of an attorney who has had his or her errors and omissions insurance policy canceled as a result of a malpractice claim?
Our answer is premised on the following representations made to the committee: 1) the judge presided over the original action which was the basis of the malpractice claim; 2) the attorney’s malpractice insurer settled the claim, over the objection of the attorney; 3) the attorney’s errors and omissions policy has been canceled; 4) it is the opinion of the trial judge that the attorney has requested a letter from the trial judge stating that the attorney handled the original action competently; and 6) the letter would be used to assist in obtaining an errors and omissions insurance policy.
Based on these representations, it is not proper under CJC Canon 2(B) for the judge to write a letter since it would lend the prestige of the office to advance the private interests of others.
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