January 5, 1977
Re: Canon 5F
This is in reply to your recent letter inquiring whether it will be permissible for you to orally argue a case in an appellate court.
You indicate that you are a newly-elected circuit judge and will take office on January 4, 1977. Prior thereto you were engaged in the practice of law during which time you participated as trial counsel in a case which has since been appealed to the Fourth District Court of Appeal with oral argument to be scheduled sometime after January 4, 1977. You indicate that it is your clients' desire that you continue to represent you at the appellate level and that opposing counsel have no objection to you participation.
The Committee has reviewed your inquiry and is unanimously of the opinion that your participation at the appellate level, while sitting as a circuit judge, is impermissible under the language of Canon 5F which expressly states "a judge shall not practice law". Although it is understandable that your clients would want to have counsel most familiar with the litigation to continue representation on appeal and while it is equally understandable that you would want to wind up your private practice in a manner consistent with the clients' interest, nevertheless the provisions of Canon 5F would be controlling.
We appreciate your inquiry and trust the foregoing will be of assistance to you.
Chairman, Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges
Participating members: Boyer,Hewitt, Murphee, Sample and Stephenson