By: Daily Record Staff//March 11, 2012
By: Daily Record Staff//March 11, 2012//
NYS Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics
Online Legal Business
Background: A candidate for judicial office asked whether he may, as a full-time judge, continue to develop, maintain and receive income from an online service that provides “commentary on new Penal Law legislation.” This online business also provides an automated analysis of charges, elements, plea bargaining restrictions and sentencing parameters under New York law. The service is available to subscribers, the majority of which are New York courts, judges, law clerks or court librarians. The inquiring judicial candidate stated that he would hire an independent contractor, if elected, to maintain the marketing of the site, the customer lists, etc.
Opinion: A non-judge candidate for judicial office may continue to offer an online software tool and online legal commentaries for sale to the public during the course of his campaign and, if his campaign is successful, after assuming the bench. As a full-time judge, he must refrain from direct involvement with marketing, sales, billing, collections and accounting practices.