Clerks' Ethics Chronological Index of Opinions

The Advisory Committee on Ethical Opinions for Clerks of the Courts provides advisory opinions to Clerks, Registers and their assistants, with respect to the rules of court that govern the ethical and professional conduct of clerks.
Opinion Subject
2017-4 Assistant clerk married to lawyer who appears in court where clerk works
2017-3 Conflict with spouse who is a CPCS attorney assigned to Clerk's court
2017-2 Partial ownership of seasonal restaurant business
2017-1 Attendance at Women's March
2016-3 Serving as real estate broker for third parties
2016-2 Endorsement; Comments in Online Publication
2016-1 Meeting of Bar Association Officials with Governor's Councilors and Judicial Nominating Committee
2015-7 Acting as Master of Ceremonies at Court's Law Day Celebration
2015-6 Handling duties of session clerk in matters involving brother's company
2015-5 Serving on Board and as President of Non-Profit Corporation; Fundraising for Charity
2015-4 Fundraising for Charity and Serving on Family Charity
2015-3 Persons Authorized to Admit to Bail Out of Court
2015-2 Serving on the Judicial Nominating Commission
2015-1 Participation in training program for trial lawyers
2014-5 Restrictions on post-retirement employment before retiring
2014-4 Jury empanelment in case where father represents co-defendant
2014-3 Running for District Attorney; Leave of Absence
2014-2 Obtaining broker's license for purpose of buying own home
2014-1 Serving as elected school committee member
Serving as County Bar Advocates member
2013-8 Sitting as a director on Board of Directors for a national non-profit organization
2013-7 Handling cases involving former clients. Father practices as criminal defense attorney in same county
2013-6 Submitting letter of recommendation for court officer in disciplinary hearing
2013-5 Assistant Clerk owns office building through realty trust and two lawyers are tenants; buys and sells property
2013-4 Serving as chairperson of fund-raising event
2013-3 Working nights and weekends to complete real estate closings after becoming Assistant Clerk
2013-2 Newly appointed Assistant Clerk-Magistrate married to attorney with active practice in her jurisdiction.  It is appropriate for her to exercise magisterial functions in matters involving spouse?
2013-1 Accepting paid part-time work for the city
2012-6 Is it appropriate to sell tickets to a retirement party before employee leaves job?
2012-5 Fundraiser to benefit ill attorney with a jewelry party - a small business venture of the Assistant Clerk
2012-4 Running for office of Clerk without leave of absence from Acting Clerk position
2012-3 Assistant Clerk running for clerk's position without a leave of absence
2012-2 Clerk-Magistrate's attendance at a political event
2012-1 Assistant Clerk serving as member of board of directors of a credit union
2011-1 Attending brother's campaign kickoff event in another state
2010-4 Spouse wishes to put up political sign on lawn displaying name of candidate for state representative
2010-3 Serving as president of civic association
2010-2 Serving on council of local bar association
2010-1 Serving as trustee of a testamentary trust
2009-3 Receiving an award and fundraising
2009-2 Assistant Clerk serving as Deputy Sheriff
2009-1 Concerning part-time employment in auto dealership
2008-4 Letter of recommendation to U.S. Immigration Court
2008-3 Establishment of legal defense fund for criminal investigation of occurrence in courthouse
2008-2 Running for election to city council or school committee
2008-1 Continuing employment as Assistant Register while running for position of Register
2007-4 Whether Code applies to Assistant Case Manager (title changed from Assistant Register) regarding engaging in political activities such as membership in political organizations and attending fundraisers
2007-3 Assistant Clerk has two adult children police officers in clerk's jurisdiction
2007-2 Writing character reference letter on behalf of employee in connection with disciplinary proceedings in a different court
2007-1 Conflict with cases filed in Superior Court and cases that involve the city
2006-6 Eucharist ministry for prisoners at county correctional facility
2006-5 Conflict - married to Assistant DA and relationship by marriage to police officer in court's jurisdiction
2006-4 Becoming trustee for charter school outside jurisdiction
2006-3 Continuing employment as assistant clerk if candidate for position of clerk
2006-2 Serving as reserve police officer while 1st assistant clerk
2006-1 Attendance at mayor's inaugural ball
2005-4 Bail setting in the evening at police station in town where clerk resides
2005-3 Romantic relationship of clerk with attorney with active practice in same court
2005-2 Labor negotiator for a town
2005-1 Fundraising for not-for-profit organization
2004-4 Attending political fundraiser
2004-3 Lawyer spouse appearing in same jurisdiction
2004-2 Attending Law Day dinner as guest of dean
2004-1 Serving as executor for non-relative
2003-10 Clerk nominee married to police sergeant in same jurisdiction
2003-9 Volunteering for Democratic Convention
2003-8 Serving on town Zoning Board of Appeals
2003-7 Participation in course offered by Committee for Public Counsel Services
2003-6 Attending testimonial dinner to honor state representative
2003-5 Attending dinner dance for recently elected state representative
2003-4 Resuming practice of law after retirement
2003-3 Serving as member of school council
2003-2 Appointment to Judicial Nominating Council
2003-1 Attendance at governor's inauguration.
2002-2 Appearing pro se before Zoning Board and on appeal to Superior Court, Land Court, Appeals Court or Supreme Judicial Court.
2002-1 Attendance at political fundraiser.
2000-8 Continuing employment as assistant clerk if clerk becomes a candidate for register of probate in different court department in another county.
2000-7 District Court assistant clerk serving on finance committee of home town where town is within jurisdiction of court.
2000-6 Continuing employment as assistant clerk if one becomes a candidate for Clerk of Court; leave of absence.
2000-5 Restrictions on political activity of District Court Clerk-Magistrate whose spouse is running for state representative.
2000-4 Assistant clerk serving as director of bank that is not within the jurisdiction of the court.
2000-3 Implications of candidacy for register of probate while serving as first assistant register.
2000-2 Restrictions on political activity of District Court assistant clerk who is a candidate for clerk-magistrate of Superior Court; leave of absence, bail responsibilities.
2000-1 Serving as master of ceremonies at mayor's inauguration
99-6 Serving as elected member of City Council.
99-5 Serving as Major in the Judge Advocate General's Corps., U.S. Army reserve.
99-4 Serving on Board of Directors for consortium that is responsible for a shelter for the homeless and a shelter for battered women.
99-3 Appointment as a Corporator for savings bank located in Massachusetts.
99-2 Submitting letter of recommendation for defendant in rape of child case.
99-1 Accepting unsolicited donation on behalf of children's education from memorial fund in memory of deceased husband.
98-9 Attendance at out of state ceremony to introduce judge nominated for an Award from the Foundation for Improvement of Justice; Foundation to pay for air fare, hotel and banquet meal.
98-8 Accepting funds from law firms and merchants, placing them in a non-interest bearing account in your name, and disbursing the funds to underwrite prizes for student participants in court's annual Law Day program.
98-7 Part-time employment as mediator, either self-employed or through a dispute resolution firm.
98-6 Serving as elected library trustee.
98-5 Serving as elected town meeting member.
98-4 Participation in program to orient nurses to serve on medical malpractice tribunals, receipt of travel costs and $50 honorarium.
98-3 Political activities by self and family members.
98-2 Unsolicited contribution by law firm to charity in clerk's name.
98-1 Appointment as Special Sheriff by County Sheriff.
97-7 Serving as member of Board of Directors of a County Bar Advocate Program
97-6 Testifying on Behalf of an Attorney Before the Board of Bar Overseers
97-5 Serving as unpaid member of Town Zoning Board of Appeals; Southeastern Regional Transit Authority Advisory Board; representative of Town and Secretary of Southeastern Transit Authority Pension Fund; serving as trustee of two nominee trusts; conservator an
97-4 Participation in seminar and receiving a minimal fee
97-3 Serving as Town Meeting member.
97-2 Providing endorsement to candidate for Register of Probate.
97-1 Acceptance of campaign contribution from Probate and Family Court litigant while running for Register of Probate.
96-8 Appointment to local Human Rights Commission.
96-7 Testifying before Governor's Council on behalf of judicial nominee.
96-6 Performing mediation or arbitration services for the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.
96-5 Serving on committee to elect Register of Probate.
96-4 May spouse make political contributions from joint account; attendance at political functions as "private citizen" with or without spouse.
96-3 Serving as member of ward committee; conflict with spouse's duties as constable.
96-2 Winding up practice to assume position as Assistant Clerk Magistrate: status of name in firm name;
96-1 Junket with representative to foreign country.
95-8 Running for position of Register of Probate.
95-7 Entering practice of law after leaving office; taking leave of absence to practice law.
95-6 Court clerks being asked for assistance in the context of their jobs and the practice of law.
95-5 Running for Register of Probate without taking unpaid leave.
95-4 Attendance at private dinner with Lt. Governor.
95-3 Serving as fiduciary for long term friend.
95-2 Serving as Board Member of Legal Assistance Corporation of Central Massachusetts.
95-1 Serving on local Personnel Board.
94-13 Serving as City Councilor.
94-12 Serving as Co-Chair of Annual Fund and on Board of Directors for YMCA.
94-11 Association as independent income tax preparer with CPA.
94-10 Arbitrator for American Registry of Arbitrators.
94-9 Consulting work on federal projects.
94-8 Fund-raising for alumnae association.
94-7 Taking leave of absence to campaign for position of Clerk of Courts.
94-6 Serving on executive committee and as treasurer of bar association.
94-5 Serving as a director on Board of Advisors of non-profit rehabilitation facility.
94-4 Attending political fund-raising event.
94-3 Solicitation of funds to run for position of Clerk of Courts.
94-2 Serving as town meeting member.
94-1 Engaging in for-profit mediation business.
93-1 Serving as member of city's election commission.
92-9 Serving as volunteer on the Regional Advisory Council of the ***** Partnership to Reduce Drug Abuse.
92-8 Contacting attorneys to advertise preparation of tax returns.
92-7 Unpaid, volunteer work in connection with private dispute resolution business.
92-6 Serving as member and chairman of Board of Examiners for a City. Serving as executrix for estate of non-family member. Receiving referral fees arising from causes of action brought before being sworn in as assistant clerk.
92-5 Additional, more detailed, discussion on issues raised in #92-4.
92-4 Being a stockholder, director, treasurer, clerk and receiving a salary and/or unearned income from a corporation established to provide a private court system in Massachusetts.
92-3 Involvement with sibling's campaign for position of town clerk.
92-2 Serving as President of Booster Club for a High School.
92-1 Acting as administrator of estate (for deceased ward.)
91-7 Holding of position of town meeting member.
91-6 Renting of summer home to attorneys who appear in Clerk-Magistrate's court.
91-5 Performing legal research for a law firm while on furlough or an authorized vacation.
91-4 Performing legal research for a law firm while on furlough or an authorized vacation.
91-3 Reviewing of entry and sale documents for foreclosure proceedings.
91-2 Serving on board of organization that regularly files actions in Clerk-Magistrate's court.
91-1 Serving as fiduciary for college roommate; definition of "close familial relationship."
90-5 CASA Volunteer/guardian ad litem in Juvenile Court.
90-4 Acting as guardian for a non-family member.
90-3 Political activity (holding of sign for candidates).
90-2 Recusal of Clerk-Magistrates.
90-1 Membership in political committees.



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