October 24, 1989
Digest: A judge may rate an attorney’s legal abilities for confidential use by a legal publication.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.2( c)
A judge asks whether it is proper for a judge, at the request of a legal publication, to complete a form rating attorneys’ legal abilities for confidential use by the publication.
Section 100.2 ( c) states that:
No judge shall lend the prestige of his or her office to advance the private interests of others; nor shall any judge convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence him or her. No judge shall testify voluntarily as a character witness.
Such a rating is similar to a letter of recommendation for a job, a cooperative apartment or bar admissions committee, all of which this Committee permits pursuant to section 100.2 ( c) [see Opinions 88-10, 88-53 and 88-168]. Since the form is confidential and would not be publicized, the judge would not be advancing improperly the private interests of either the attorneys involved or of the legal publication.