Dear Model Code,

A member of my family is, unfortunately, involved in a legal matter, and I am being pressured to provide guidance. To what extent — if any — am I allowed to assist?

Sincerely,

Judge Skipping the Family Reunion

Dear Judge Reunion,

I am unambiguous on this issue: A judge may — without compensation — give legal advice and draft or review documents for a family member. Anything beyond that, the family member is out of luck.

Specifically, judges are “prohibited from serving as the family member’s lawyer in any forum” and “shall not practice law” (Rule 3.10).

In other words, I provide you the perfect excuse whenever a family member, or anyone else, asks you to act as their lawyer.

Relatively speaking,

The Model Code of Judicial Conduct