Judges can provide feedback on individual attorney’s courtroom performances, the California Supreme Court’s Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions clarified Dec. 15.
The formal opinion says judges can provide the feedback when requested, but only after the proceeding has reached final resolution of all possible appeals. The feedback cannot be provided in an ex parte communication, and cannot cross the line into coaching the attorney by advising certain tactics or strategies, or by providing legal advice.
The judges have to be equally available to give feedback to attorneys representing various interests or viewpoints. The feedback cannot act as an employment evaluation for promotion or discipline, and cannot give anyone an inside advantage.
“By adopting this final opinion, the committee aims to provide clear guidance on the ethical constraints to providing feedback on attorney courtroom performance,” said committee member Justice Judith Haller of the Fourth District Court of Appeal according to a press release.
“The committee is grateful to the members of the public and the bench for their thoughtful comments, which strengthened and enhanced the committee’s opinion.”
Read the full advisory opinion here.