Law firm’s pro bono work for judge was in full compliance with ethics

A Jan. 10 editorial in the Globe (“Dougan’s free legal services represent a conflict of interest”), which commented on free legal services that Foley Hoag provided to Judge Raymond Dougan of the Boston Municipal Court, made the suggestion that my colleagues at Foley Hoag and I should avoid appearing before Dougan. I want to assure your readership that I have never appeared before Dougan and that I do not intend to ever appear before him in any matter. Moreover, no other Foley Hoag attorney will ever appear before the judge, a circumstance we understood when we first decided to represent him.

To the best of our knowledge, the last time a Foley Hoag lawyer appeared before Dougan was in 2001, more than 10 years before we began representing him before the Commission on Judicial Conduct. Our pro bono representation of Dougan was not only critical to defend the independence of the Massachusetts judiciary, but it was in full compliance with Massachusetts opinions on judicial ethics, which state that judges can accept pro bono services from attorneys as long as the attorneys providing the services do not appear before that judge, and the judge discloses those services to the Supreme Judicial Court. Both conditions were met in our representation of Dougan.

Michael B. Keating

Foley Hoag