Editor's Note: See M.R.P.C. 3.5, 8.4.
PERSONAL INFLUENCE- Attempts to exert personal influence upon an administrative officer is improper.
RULE 3, Rules of Professional Conduct, Mississippi State Bar.
An opinion from this Committee has been requested on the following question:
Is it proper and ethical for a practicing attorney who has numerous cases before an administrative body, which has judicial powers, to habitually curry favor with hearing officers by taking them out and paying for their meals, giving them bottles of whiskey and otherwise paying for their entertainment?
In the opinion of this Committee, the practice described in the foregoing question is improper and unethical. Rule 3, Rules of Professional Conduct, Mississippi State Bar, in part, states:
Marked attention and unusual hospitality on the part of a lawyer to a judge, uncalled for by the personal relations of the parties, subject both the judge and the lawyer to misconstructions of motive and should be avoided . . . A lawyer . . . deserves rebuke and denunciation for any device or attempt to gain from judge a special personal consideration or favor.
See, also, Informal Opinions No. 900 and 926, ABA Standing Committee on Professional Ethics, and Drinker. Legal Ethics, P. 275.
The Committee believes that the aforesaid principles which apply regarding a lawyer's relationship with a judge, also, apply regarding a lawyer's relationship with an administrative hearing officer or other quasi-judicial officer.