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September 29, 1995


Honorable Morris W. Thompson
Circuit Judge, Sixth Judicial District
Pulaski County Court House
Little Rock, AR 72201

RE: Advisory Opinion 95-05

Dear Judge Thompson:

Your letter of September 20, 1995 asks whether the Arkansas Code of Judicial Conduct permits you to accept and teach in an adjunct capacity in Shorter College's Paralegal Program. You have submitted a curriculum reflecting a course of study involving basic concepts of substantive and procedural law, research, court structure and organization, legal process, and the like, designed to prepare individuals for paralegal and related occupations.

Canon 4(B) provides that a judge Amay speak, write, lecture, teach on and participate in other extra-judicial activities conveying the law, the legal system, the administration of justice and non-legal subjects, subject to the requirements of the Code. The commentary to canon 4(B) reads (in part):

as a judicial officer and person learned in the law, a judge is in a unique position to contribute to the improvement of the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice, including  revision of substantive and procedural law and improvement of criminal and juvenile justice. To the extent that time permits, a judge is encouraged to do so, either independently or through a bar association, judicial conference or other organization dedicated to the improvement of the law.

It should be noted that Canon 4(A)(3) provides that such extra-judicial activities should not be permitted to Ainterfere with the proper performance of judicial duties. Moreover, a judge may be compensated for such activities so long as the compensation is reasonable, does not exceed what others would receive for comparable services, and does not give the appearance of impropriety or of influencing the judge's judicial duties.

In the opinion of the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, it would not conflict with Canon 4 for you to teach in the areas designated.

Yours very truly,

 

Steel Hays

For the Committee

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