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Opinion

Opinion CJE Opinion No. 2002-19

Date: 12/17/2002
Organization: Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

The following is an archived advisory opinion of the Committee on Judicial Ethics (CJE) from the time period of 1989 through 2014, and the Code of Judicial Conduct that was in effect from October 1, 2003 to December 31, 2015. Archived advisory opinions also include the Code that was in effect through September 30, 2003. The Supreme Judicial Court adopted a new Massachusetts Code of Judicial Conduct, effective on January 1, 2016. A judge should not rely on any pre- 2016 CJE Advisory Opinion without contacting Supreme Judicial Court Senior Attorney Barbara F. Berenson, counsel to the Committee on Judicial Ethics, at Barbara.Berenson@jud.state.ma.us or 617- 557-1048.

Serving as Legislative Counsel to Municipality

The Governor has nominated you for a judgeship in a department of the Trial Court. Currently you serve as, among other things, legislative counsel to a municipality. You have informed the committee that the position of legislative counsel was created by the municipality's city code. According to your request, the city code "specifies [that] the duties of legislative counsel [are] to provide legal assistance" to the city council in a variety of areas that the code specifies. In other words, legislative counsel acts as a practicing lawyer who provides the city council with legal advice on specified subjects.

You have asked the committee whether you may continue to serve as legislative counsel after you have been confirmed and sworn in as a judge. Canon 5 (F) of the Code of Judicial Conduct states, in its entirety, that "[a] judge should not practice law." Accordingly, you may not continue to serve as legislative counsel to the city council after you are sworn in as a judge.

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