December 10, 2014
PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
This responds to your inquiry (14-158) asking whether it is permissible to list the designation “Hon.” preceding your name as it appears in your Attorney profile on your law firm’s website. You indicate your name and title, if permissible, will be the same font and size as those of the other attorneys in the firm.
The Committee has previously determined that a judge may list his/her judicial title in an online biography on the law firm’s website, “as long as the judge is careful to avoid the appearance that the judge’s judicial position is being used to promote either the law firm or the judge’s own legal services” (see Joint Opinion 09-59/09-86). Therefore, while you may include the designation “Hon.” in the body of your on-line biography, you may not include it in the heading or otherwise display your judicial title in the firm’s list of attorneys. This is necessary to avoid the appearance that you are using your title to promote or advertise your firm’s services.
When referring to your judicial position within the body of your on-line biography or profile, the Committee concurs that by using the same font and size as those used in the other attorneys’ profiles, you will not draw unnecessary attention to your judicial title. In addition, you should not describe your judicial duties or cases over which you have presided nor should you include any information that would indicate your predisposition to a certain type of case in a particular way. Finally, it is your responsibility to ensure that the information posted on the website otherwise complies with the applicable rules governing judicial and professional conduct (see 22 NYCRR, parts 100 and 1200).
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinion 13-76 and Joint Opinion 09-59/09-86 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)