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April 8, 1996

Justice Robert L. Brown
Supreme Court of Arkansas
Justice Building
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 scholarly activities.

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 Canon 2.

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.

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