JUDGE AS ATTORNEY FOR SELF,
SPOUSE AND/OR CORPORATION

Proposed Opinion No. 226 (1998)


QUESTION: A judge is sued individually, along with her spouse and a corporation that the judge and her spouse solely own. May the judge represent herself, her spouse and/or the corporation in the suit as attorney of record?

ANSWER: Yes and No. A judge may always represent herself in a legal action. Whether she is permitted to represent her spouse or the corporation depends on the type of judge being sued. Canon 4G and Canon 6 must be looked at together for the answer. Canon 4G provides that a judge may not practice law but may represent herself and, without compensation, give legal advice to and draft or review documents for a member of the judge's family. Judges required to comply with Canon 4G (appellate judges at all levels, district and county court at law judges) may not represent their spouse or the corporation.

With minor exceptions, Canon 4G does not apply to a County Judge, a J.P. or a municipal judge. The Code of Judicial Conduct does not prohibit these judges from representing their spouse, and the corporation and themselves