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So You Want to be a Pro-tem: Ethical Considerations for Lawyers who Serve as Part-Time Judges

Total Credits: 1.5 CLE, 1.5 Ethics

Average Rating:
Ethics |  Public Lawyers |  Miscellaneous
April Phillips Elliott |  Richard L Palmatier Jr |  Charles J Adornetto
Audio and Video
Original Program Date:
Apr 25, 2023


Co-Sponsored by The State Bar Public Lawyer's Section

Are you interested in serving as a pro-tem judge, or perhaps eventually as a full-time judge?  CLE covers ethical considerations under both the Rules of Professional Conduct and the Code of Judicial Conduct for lawyers who serve as part-time judges.  Topics include:

  • Overview of the Code of Judicial Conduct and what provisions do/do not apply to part-time pro-tems.
  • Limitations on practicing law in the courts where you serve as a pro-tem.
  •  Limitations on advertising your pro-tem status.
  • Special considerations for government attorneys serving as pro-tems.
  • Conflicts of interests and disqualification considerations.

April P. Elliott, Executive Director, Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct 
Richard Palmatier, Jr., Assistant General Counsel, State Bar of Arizona 

Charles J. Adornetto, MCJC Judicial Education Officer, Maricopa County Justice Courts



April Phillips Elliott Related Seminars and Products

Executive Director

April P. Elliott currently serves as the Executive Director of the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct and the Staff Director for the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee, and she previously served as the Commission’s Disciplinary Counsel. Ms. Elliott was a judge on the Pinal County Superior Court from 2005 – 2006, and she served as a pro tem judge for both Pinal County Superior Courts and Justice Courts from 2002 to 2005. Before becoming a judge, Ms. Elliott was in private practice for ten years in Casa Grande, Arizona, handling a variety of case types. Following her service on the bench, she spent almost eight years with the Pinal County Public Defender’s Office until she joined the Commission in October 2014.  She received both her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Arizona, serving as Managing Editor for the Arizona Law Review in 1994-95.

Richard L Palmatier Jr Related Seminars and Products

Assistant General Counsel

State Bar of Arizona

Richard "Rick" Palmatier, Jr., Assistant General Counsel, State Bar of Arizona.  Mr. Palmatier is a retired Army JAG, serving on active duty, the US Army Reserve, and the Arizona Army National Guard.  During a portion of that time, he was a prosecutor with Coconino County, the City of Flagstaff, and Maricopa County, and also an indigent defense counsel in Flagstaff.  During his military career, in addition to being the Staff Judge Advocate, he also served as the Ethics/Conflicts of Interest Advisor, the Human Resources Officer, and as the Chief of Staff for the Arizona Army National Guard.  After his military retirement, he practiced in a small firm setting focusing on Veterans’ disability cases. 

As Assistant General Counsel for the Bar, he focuses on conservatorship matters, assisting the Ethics Hotline, and employment law.  He currently serves as a member of the Steering Committee for the Arizona Wills for Heroes, as an Ombudsman with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, and on the non-profit boards for the Arizona Reserve Component Emergency Relief Fund and the Unified Arizona Veterans.

He is a graduate of the University of Arizona, the Arizona College of Law, the US Army Judge Advocate General’s School, and the US Army War College.  He is admitted to practice in Arizona, the US District Court for Arizona, the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, and the US Supreme Court.

Charles J Adornetto Related Seminars and Products

Judicial Education Officer

Charles J. Adornetto is the Judicial Education Officer for the Maricopa County Justice Courts and a Judge Pro Tempore in several courts. In his many years of legal practice, Mr. Adornetto has been the Wickenburg Town Magistrate, the Chief Hearing Officer at the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections, the Chief Hearing Officer/Assistant Director of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, and an Assistant Chief Administrative Law Judge at the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Mr. Adornetto graduated from Stanford Law School and has a B.S. in Political Science from Arizona State University. He has also attended the Judicial College of Arizona; the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada, the Arizona College of Trial Advocacy, the Certified Public Manager program, and the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Mr. Adornetto is a member of the Arizona Commission on Access to Justice and the Chair of that group’s Limited Jurisdiction Court Self-Represented Litigant Workgroup. He is a past Chair of the Executive Council of Arizona State Bar Public Lawyer Section and of the Juvenile Law Section. He also serves on the State Bar Fee Arbitration Committee and has served on the Unauthorized Practice of Law Advisory and Peer Review Committees. He has also been a substitute teacher in our public schools and is the past president of A Stepping Stone Foundation, a charity providing preschool and family literacy services, along with college scholarships, to at-risk youth in Arizona.

Mr. Adornetto received three Strategic Agenda Awards from the Arizona Supreme Court for Enhancing Professionalism within Arizona’s Courts, in 2015 (Best Practice for Ensuring Access to Justice for Self-Represented Litigants); in 2020 (Best Practices and Webinars for Evictions During the Pandemic); and 2021 (New Judge Pro Tem Training Program); received two awards from the National Association of Counties in 2020 for Information Technology (Educational Podcast System) and Personnel Management, Employment and Training (New Pro Tem Training Program); and one in 2021 for County Administration and Management (Maricopa County Eviction Best Practices Program); and was a Supervisor of the Year at the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections in 2006. Mr. Adornetto has served as a Table Mentor or presenter at the Supreme Court’s Limited Jurisdiction New Judge Orientation from 2019 to 2023, and he won his high school talent show by singing lead vocals on Steve Martin’s “King Tut,” and he portrayed Nathan Detroit in his high school’s production of Guys and Dolls.

Mr. Adornetto was published as the co-author, with Judge Gerald Williams, of Pandemic Residential Eviction Moratoriums: An Analysis of Judicial Implementation and Recommendations for the Future, 54 Texas Tech L. Rev. 603 (Summer 2022), and the author of Injunctions Should Be Set to Pre-Issuance Hearings Unless Emergent, CIDVIC News, Volume 2, Issue 3 (August 18, 2023), pp 6-8.



Overall:      4.4

Total Reviews: 32


Pete G

"The information that was provided was very informative and clear. "

Christopher R

"very comprehensive overview"

Sylvia L

"lots of good, detailed info along with examples. April was by far the best presenter."

David D

"Excellent information and speakers."

Angela D

"It was informative but very dry so that is why it was good instead of excellent."

Jerry D


Matthew H

"I was hoping there would be more information on Judge Pro Tem and social media in the modern age. It was briefly discussed and the microphone cut out for part of it."

Derek B

"I'm currently serving as a pro tem and appreciate the perspective you brought. "

Sarah P

"Thorough presentations, answered questions confidently and thoroughly. "

Desa Rae T

"Engaging panel with great information "