October 24, 1989
Digest: A judge may not permit a photographer to use the judge’s portrait on the photographer’s business card.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.2( c)
A judge inquires whether it would be appropriate for a photographer to use a photograph taken of the judge standing in front of law books, showing the judge dressed in an ordinary business suit and without judicial robes, on the photographer’s business cards.
Section 100.5 ( c)(1) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator provides that “no judge shall lend the prestige of his or her office to advance the private interests of others . . .” Here, the use of the judge’s picture on the photographer’s business card involves the judge’s lending the prestige of judicial office to a commercial enterprise. Even though the judge is not identified on the business card by name, or as a judge, potential clients of the photographer could recognize the judge, and thus the judge may be assisting the photographer’s business. Accordingly, the judge should request that the photographer not use the judge’s photograph on the business cards.