Opinion 20-72

June 8, 2020


Dear :

          We respond to your inquiry (20-72) asking if you may appear in a commercially produced documentary concerning a deceased former client and his/her family. You are a full-time judge, and the representation terminated over 30 years ago. You also ask if the attorney-client privilege is abrogated or otherwise affected by the former client’s death.

          Attorney-client privilege is a legal question, not an ethical one, and thus we cannot address it (see Opinions 04-123; 08-62).

          If you may legally discuss the former representation, then you may, without compensation, participate in an interview for a commercially produced documentary concerning that representation, provided the case has completely terminated and no related proceedings are pending or impending (see Opinion 17/163/18-03/18-21).

          Please see enclosed Opinions 17/163/18-03/18-21; 04-123; 08-62 for more detailed guidance.

                                               Very truly yours,

                                               George D. Marlow, Assoc Justice

                                               Appellate Div., First Dept. (Ret)

                                               Committee Co-Chair


                                               Hon. Margaret T. Walsh

                                               Supreme Court Justice

                                               Committee Co-Chair