June 16, 1994
Digest: A judge may permit the use of his or her name or photograph in the advertising and promotion of the judge's contribution to a legal publication provided that such material is restricted to the judge's contribution.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.(2)(c), 100.4(a)
A publisher of legal periodicals, newsletters and books, has sent a letter to its contributors seeking agreement as to the respective rights relating to the publication of the contributions. Among the provisions is an authorization by the contributor permitting the publisher to use the contributor's name, photograph and biographical material “in connection with the advertising, publicity or promotion...” of the contribution.
A judge, who presumably has been a contributor, inquires whether there are ethical constraints with respect to use of a judge's name, photograph, etc. in the advertising or promotion of the published material.
The Committee is of the opinion that a judge could agree to such usage provided that it is used in the promotion only of the judge's contribution to the publication. Rule 100.4(a) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator permits a judge to speak, write, lecture and teach on matters concerning the law. Promotion of the judge's written contribution would be permissible as an adjunct to such activity. However, Rule 100.2(c) forbids a judge from lending “the prestige of his or her office to advance the private interests of others.” In the view of the Committee, a balancing of the two rules results in a restriction of the use of the judge's name, photograph, etc., to the promotion of the judge's own contribution alone.