July 14, 2011
This responds to your inquiry (11-54) asking whether you may provide your accountant-friend, who has authored a book about auditing for fraud, with a quote for inclusion on the inside leaf of the book. You advise that your judicial title will not be mentioned and that the only compensation you will receive is a complimentary copy of the book.
The Committee has previously advised that a judge may not author a quote about a book involving legal issues simply to be used on the book jacket in conjunction with its sale (see Opinion 93-14 [Vol. X]) as to do so would lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of another (see 22 NYCRR 100.2[C]). The fact that you would not use your judicial title does not warrant a different result. Presumably, the author has asked to quote you to lend credibility or authority to his/her book for marketing and sales purposes, which violates section 100.2(C) of the Rules. Although the absence of your judicial title might mitigate this ethics concern, making such a determination would require the Committee to evaluate the extent to which your judicial status is known to prospective purchasers of the book. The Committee is not authorized and does not have the capacity to make such a factual determination on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, it is the Committee’s view that you may not assist your accountant-friend to market and sell his/her book by providing him/her with a quote for inclusion on the inside leaf of the book.
Enclosed, for your convenience, is Opinion 93-14, which addresses this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)