Can a lawyer use his law firm's letterhead to communicate with litigants in a court over which he presides as a municipal judge?
In answering the question, consideration is given to DR 2-101 Publicity and Advertising, DR 8-101 Action as Public Official, and DR 9-101 Avoiding Even the Appearance of Impropriety. Opinion 356, based on former Canons 24 and 39 held that it was improper for a district attorney to use his official stationery in his personal civil practice. A communication from a municipal judge on stationery of a law firm might mislead or confuse the recipient as to the role or capacity of the writer. A lawyer should use official stationery in his role as a judge to communicate on matters involving his role as a judge and use his personal or law firm stationery to communicate on matters in which his role is that of an attorney.
It is improper for a lawyer who is serving as a municipal judge to use his law firm's letterhead to communicate with litigants on municipal court matters.