April 8, 1996
Justice Robert L. Brown
Supreme Court of Arkansas
625 Marshall Street
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
Re: Advisory Opinion # 96-04
Dear Justice Brown:
Your letter inquires about the propriety of your role as one of the
authors of a book that is intended to provide practical guidance for Arkansas lawyers. The
book will be published by a major publisher in conjunction with the William R. Overton
Inns of Court, and you will not receive any income from your work on the book.
Judges are permitted to write books on both legal and non-legal
topics. Canon 4B. Indeed, "it is a time-honored tradition that judges should engage
in lecturing and scholarship concerning both legal and non-legal subjects". Shaman, Lubet & Alfini, Judicial Conduct and Ethics (2nd
ed. 1995) 283. The public and the bar benefit from judicial involvement in educational and
The contract permits the publisher to use your name and
qualifications in advertising and marketing the book "in accordance with appropriate
professional standards and ethics". This language sufficiently complies with the
Commentary to Canon 2B requiring judicial control over advertising.
The contract bars you from writing or assisting in another project
"that may injure, hamper or adversely affect sales...". But you are expressly
permitted "to give speeches, participate in conferences, and write and publish in
periodicals on the subject matter of the work...".
You indicate that the publisher has also asked you to solicit
attorneys to work on the book project. Such a request is consistent with the purpose of
the project and is not forbidden by Canon 2. Compare the examples in the Commentary to
We find no indication that any aspects of the book will improperly
invoke the prestige of judicial office or cast doubt on judicial impartiality.
Howard W. Brill
For the Committee
Edwin Alderson and Steele Hays concur.
Home | Summaries of Opinions and Full Opinions
Procedural Rules |
Biographies of Judicial Ethics Advisory
Judicial Discipline & Disability
Commission | Arkansas Judiciary Home Page
Arkansas Home Page