TITLE COMPANY, SERVICE ON BOARD

Opinion No. 81 (1985)


QUESTION: May a judge serve as chairman of the board of a title company, a private corporation?

ANSWER: The Code of Judicial Conduct does not specifically prohibit a judge from serving as chairman of the board of a title company which is a private corporation. It does set forth guidelines that a judge should observe:

(1) A judge should conduct himself at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. (Canon 2A).
(2) A judge should not lend the prestige of his office to advance the private interests of others; nor should he convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence him. (Canon 2B).
(3) A judge should regulate his extra-judicial activities to minimize the risk of conflict with his judicial activities (Canon 5), and manage his investments and other financial interests to minimize the number of cases in which he is disqualified. (Canon 5C(3)). See Canon 3C for judicial disqualifications.*

The Committee assumes that the judge would not permit his title to be used upon the company stationery or any other printed material of the title company.
If there is no conflict with the canons set out above, the Judicial Ethics Committee perceives no violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

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*Provisions relating to recusal and disqualification were removed from Canon 3C effective January 21, 1987. See Rules 18a and 18b, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.