RETIRED JUDGE ON LAW FIRM'S LETTERHEAD

Opinion No. 87 (1986)


QUESTION: May retired or former judges, who have elected to accept judicial assignments under former Art. 200a, Sec. 5a, V.T.C.S. (Now Art. 200a-1, Sec. 4.014(3), V.T.C.S.) ethically permit the use of their names on a law firm's stationery without the phrase "of counsel" or a similar phrase?

ANSWER: The question submitted requires a legal construction of Sec. 44.005, of Title 110B, Public Retirement Systems, which is entitled "Ineligibility to Practice Law." Your Judicial Ethics Committee is not authorized to give legal opinions. However, the Committee would observe that if a construction of Sec. 44.005 should hold that retired or former judges, who have elected to subject themselves to judicial assignment, are ineligible to practice law; then, to permit the use of their names on a law firm's stationery without proper qualifying language would be a violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 2A. The essence of Canon 2A is that a judge should respect and comply with the law, thereby avoiding improprieties and the appearance of improprieties.