This interesting story was forwarded to me by a former student.
Apparently over the course of several years and while working in her husband's chambers, a lawyer made a number of referrals to prominent personal injury firms and earned significant fees therefrom. The referral fees were disclosed by the judge as part of his annual financial disclosures but were not disclosed to litigants. The judge did not participate in any of the cases for which his wife received fees, but he did hear other cases involving the firms that were source of the fees. Monroe Freedman, Larry Fox, and other prominent legal ethics experts were interviewed for the story.
Two questions divided the experts: 1) Should the referral fees have been specifically disclosed by the judge in cases involving the firms that paid the fees? And 2) Should the judge have recused himself from those cases?
My tentative answer is "Yes" to 1) because the fees could reasonably be seen as relevant to a motion to disqualify; and "No" to 2) because a spouse's affiliation with a firm is generally insufficient to warrant recusal in all cases involving the firm and the judge's wife did not have an ongoing relationship with the firms that paid her the referral fees.
I would be curious to hear other viewpoints.