Opinion no. 91-24
December 2, 1991 Canon: 5(F)

RE: Mediation with law firm

RE: Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges- Your inquiry dated October 17, 1991

Dear Judge

You inquire whether a retired judge eligible for recall to judicial service who also acts as a mediator may be associated with a law firm in his mediation practice .

Nine responding members of the ten member committee unanimously agreed the Canons permit a retired judge to work as a mediator, but prohibits such judge from actually practicing law. However, members did not find this to be totally consistent, since mediation is now a recognized specialty in the practice of law. To extend this further to allow a retired judge eligible for recall to also be associated with a law firm as a mediator, the members found violative of Canon 5 (F) and paragraph (C) of Compliance with Code of Judicial Conduct.

One concurring member did find the relationship described to be more like an independent contractor than an association, but agreed with the others that you should not be eligible for recall while in this arrangement.

The committee is expressly charged with rendering advisory opinions interpreting the application of the Code of Judicial Conduct to specific circumstances confronting or affecting a judge or judicial candidate. Its opinions are advisory to the inquiring party, to the Judicial Qualifications Commission and to the judiciary at large. Conduct that is consistent with an advisory opinion issued by the committee may be evidence of good faith on the part of the judge, but the Judicial Qualifications Commission is not bound by the interpretive opinions issued by the committee. Petition of the Committee on Standards of Conduct for Judges 327 So.2d 5 (Fla. 1976).
With regards, I remain,

Yours very truly,

Jere Tolton, Chairman
Committee on Standards of Conduct Governing Judges

JT /mc

cc: All Committee Members

Participating Members: Judges Tolton , Green , Booth , Dell , Doughtie, Goldstein, Farina, Rushing, and Clarke, Esq.

All reference to the inquiring judge is deleted from the copies sent to the following individuals.
Mr. Sid White, Clerk of the Supreme Court of Florida
Judson Orrick, Managing Editor, The Florida Bar
Brooke S. Kennerly, Executive Director, Judicial Qualifications Commission.
Hon. Walter K. Stapleton, Chairman, Ethics Advisory panel of the Judicial Conference of the United states .
Cynthia Grey, Director, American Judicature Society
Ms. Jean Underhill, Librarian, Broward County Law Library
Mr. Robert Wallace, Librarian, Dade County Law Library
Ms. Joan D. Cannon, Librarian, supreme Court of Florida
William D. Wilkinson, Court Administrator, Lee County
Hon. . Thomas H . Barkdull , Jr ., Third District Court of Appeal
Lynda Glyman, Esq. Center for Professional Responsibility, American Bar Association
Hon. Charles McClure, Chief Judge, Second Judicial circuit
Office of state Court Administrator, Legal Affairs & Education