January 20, 1993
Digest: A judge may not author a quote about a book involving legal issues simply to be used on the book jacket in conjunction with its sale, but may write a book review for publication in the New York Law Journal or elsewhere.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.2(c) and 100.4(a)
A judge inquires whether it is permissible (1) to review a soon-to-be-published book involving legal issues for purposes of providing a quote (impliedly favorable) for use on the book jacket, and (2) to write a book review for the New York Law Journal.
Section 100.2(c) 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.
To review a book simply for purposes of providing a quote on the book jacket in conjunction with its sale would be in contravention of the foregoing rule. (See also Opinion 87-13, Vol. I.)
The writing of a book review for publication in the New York Law Journal or elsewhere, however, is quite different, since it is not for the advancement of the private interests of a particular person but, rather, is consistent with Rule 100.4(a), which provides that “A judge may speak, write, lecture, teach and participate in other activities concerning the law, the legal system and the administration of justice.” Therefore, it is permissible for the judge to write such a book review.