TO CLIENT WHEN CLIENT IS A
                                   JUDGE ATTORNEY MAY APPEAR
                                   BEFORE IN THE FUTURE

You have presented a hypothetical situation in which you
represent a client who is a judge in a state court.  As you
usually do for clients who are friends or colleagues, you propose
offering your client a discounted fee.

Under the facts you have presented, you have asked the committee
to opine as to whether an attorney may, as a professional
courtesy, reduce his fee for legal representation to a state
court judge when the attorney has not appeared before the judge
in state court but may do so in the future.

The appropriate and controlling disciplinary rule relative to
your inquiry is DR 7-109(A), which states, "A lawyer shall not
give or lend anything of value to a judge, official, or employee
of a tribunal under circumstances which might give the appearance
that the gift or loan is made to influence official action." 
Also EC 7-31 advises that "A lawyer, therefore, is never
justified in making a gift or a loan to a judge . . . under
circumstances which might give the appearance that the gift or
loan is made to influence official action."

In the facts  presented, the committee believes it is not
improper for the attorney to treat the judge, a longtime friend,
no differently from other friends and colleagues to whom the
attorney would extend the same professional courtesy of a
discounted fee for legal services rendered by the attorney.  EC
2-20 commends the special consideration given in setting fees for
colleagues and family members.  Considered in conjunction with EC
2-14, which states that a lawyer does not cease to be a lawyer
merely because of the lawyer's status as a judge, the committee
concluded that it is acceptable to regard a judge as a
professional colleague for whom a fee reduction is a routine

Although the attorney has never appeared before the judge, the
attorney indicates the possibility exists that such an appearance
could be necessary in the future.  The committee assumes that the
attorney's representation of the judge has terminated before any
appearance before that judge.  Otherwise, a conflict would exist. 
 The committee believes that a fee reduction now, commensurate
with fee discounts given other colleagues and family members,
would be unlikely to create any appearance of impropriety or
appear to be an attempt to influence official action by the
attorney should the attorney appear before the judge in the

It is beyond the purview of this committee to address any issues
regarding the judge's compliance with the Canons of Judicial
Ethics if the attorney were to appear in court before the same

Committee Opinion
March 26, 1999