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Connecticut Committee on Judicial Ethics
Informal Opinion Summaries

JE 2012-02 (January 12, 2012)
Recommendations; Referral Fee; Rule 1.2, 1.3, 3.10
Issue: At a time subsequent to his or her appointment, a Judicial Official referred a close personal friend to an attorney for representation concerning a case. The attorney recently settled the client’s case and asked the Judicial Official if he or she would accept a referral fee. May the Judicial Official accept a referral fee?
Response: Based upon the mandate in Rule 1.2 that a Judicial Official should act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary, and should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety, as well as the prohibition in Rule 1.3 on the use or attempted use of the prestige of office to advance the interests of the judge or others and in Rule 3.10 on practicing law, the Committee unanimously determined that the Judicial Official should not accept a referral fee. While the Committee was not asked about the propriety of the referral, itself, the Committee noted that in opinion JE 2008-17 it advised the inquiring Judicial Official that he or she may recommend an attorney to an individual provided that (1) the individual who is referred has a sufficiently close relationship to the Judicial Official that the Judicial Official would automatically recuse himself or herself from a case involving that person independent of the recommendation, and (2) in such instances, the Judicial Official should recommend multiple names of counsel.

Committee on Judicial Ethics



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