State of Washington
Ethics Advisory CommitteeOpinion 96-06
May a judicial officer appear on a law school’s video which is sent to prospective students describing the law school?
Prior to being appointed to the bench the judicial officer was a faculty member at the law school for seven years and as such participated in the last video. The judicial officer is also a graduate of the law school and one of two female superior court judges on the bench in the county in which the law school is located. The judicial officer will be speaking about the experiences she had as both a student and a faculty member and the quality of education at the law school.
CJC Canon 4(A) provides that judicial officers may speak and participate in other activities concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice. Therefore, a judicial officer may appear in a law school video which is sent to prospective students. The judicial officer may be identified as a judicial officer; the comments of the judicial officer should be based on the personal experiences and observations of the judicial officer while the judicial officer was a student and/or facility member at the law school.
Appearance in the video does not fall under CJC Canon 2(B) which prohibits a judicial officer from using the prestige of the judicial office to advance the private interests of others. The judicial officer may contribute to the improvement of the legal system and the administration of justice by assisting law schools in recruiting the most qualified individuals into the legal profession.
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