Did you know that probate judges are the only judges in Connecticut that may practice law on the side in an unrestricted manner? As a practical matter, most probate judges do not appear in court and are careful to avoid the appearance of impropriety. But in 2011, the State Ethics Commission recommended prohibiting this practice. The legislation failed.
I have actively practiced law in our community for 24 years. I believe that when a judge practices law it can distort the adversary process. What happens is the attorney for the other side must show deference to the judge. He cannot fight quite as hard for you, because that attorney might have to appear before the judge representing a different client. Therefore, I will take myself out of the adversary process entirely. I have pledged that I will not accept any new clients, and will only represent existing clients in estate planning and uncontested administrations of estates.
My opponent is an active divorce lawyer, admittedly appearing in contested matters in court. During our Westport debate, he defended the status quo. (See the debate here: http://www.westportct.gov/index.aspx?page=306).
I am running to be your judge, not to enrich myself by using this office to expand my law practice. I realize that I am shaking up the establishment by making this pledge. But I firmly believe it is the right thing to do.
I ask for your vote on Nov. 5.