April 27, 2006
Digest: It would be improper for a judge to ask an attorney to deliver the judge’s nephew’s resume to the attorney’s contact at a business where the judge’s nephew is seeking a volunteer position.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.2; 100.2(C); Opinion 88-138 (Vol. III).
A judge’s nephew, who is a college student, wishes to serve in a volunteer position at a particular business. An attorney who regularly practices before the judge has a contact at the business who may help the judge’s nephew secure the position. The judge asks whether it is permissible for the judge to ask the attorney to submit the judge’s nephew’s resume to the attorney’s contact. The judge would only do so upon notice to the attorney’s adversary.
Pursuant to the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct, a judge must avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of the judge’s activities. 22 NYCRR 100.2. In addition, a judge shall not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others. 22 NYCRR 100.2(C). In the present inquiry, because of their professional relationships with the judge, it is unlikely that either attorney will feel free to decline the judge’s requests to assist the judge’s nephew, or to consent to such assistance. Further, the private interests of the judge’s nephew clearly would be advanced if the attorneys acquiesce. For these reasons, the Committee views it as improper for the judge to ask an attorney to deliver the judge’s nephew’s resume to the attorney’s contact at a business where the judge’s nephew seeks a position. See Opinion 88-138 (Vol. III).