March 11, 1993
Digest: A part-time village justice may send an unsolicited letter to a district attorney suggesting an interview and hiring of a law student as an assistant district attorney after the student graduates, where the district attorney does not prosecute cases in the justice’s court, and where the justice knows both the district attorney and the student personally.
Rules: 22 NYCRR §100.2(c) .
A part-time village justice asks if it is ethically proper for a judge to send an unsolicited letter to the district attorney, who the justice knows, suggesting an office interview, with an eye towards an assistant district attorney position, for a law school student the justice knows and who will be graduating this spring. The justice is aware of our Opinion 88-53, Vol. II, but differentiates this situation by explaining that the district attorney’s office does not prosecute any cases in the inquiring judge’s court. In addition, the judge knows both the district attorney and the student personally, and the judge and the district attorney are old friends.
This Committee’s prior Opinion 88-10, Vol. I, found that a justice may write a reference letter for a job applicant (containing the words “Personal and Unofficial” if judicial stationery is used), as long as the contents reflect the justice’s “appraisal of the abilities of the applicant.” Therefore, the justice may write such a letter in this case.