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Opinion Opinion 2000-4

Date: 05/22/2000
Organization: Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

Ethical Opinions for Clerks of the Courts

Assistant clerk serving as director of bank that is not within the jurisdiction of the court.


In your letter dated April 18, 2000, you request an opinion from the Committee regarding the following situation. You are an Assistant Clerk at the District Court, appointed in 1998. You have been a Director of since 1989. Bank is a small community bank with three branches, none of which is located within the jurisdiction of the District Court. You state that during the ten years that you have served as director, "there has never been any litigation involving the bank in the District Court". You ask whether, consistent with the Code of Professional Responsibility for Clerks of the Courts, you may continue to serve as a bank director.

This committee addressed a somewhat similar situation in Opinion No. 99-3, in which we advised that under the Code, an assistant clerk could not serve as a bank corporator for a bank which was within the jurisdiction of the court where the assistant clerk works. It is the view of the committee that your situation is distinguishable, because the bank where you serve as director is not located within the jurisdiction of the court where you are an Assistant Clerk. In these circumstances, the Code would not prohibit your continued service as director. However, should the bank as a party or any employee thereof come before you in your capacity as Assistant Clerk, we advise you to consult and comply with the provisions of Canon 4(E) regarding disqualification.


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