Opinion: 02-20

March 7, 2002

Digest: A full-time judge may lecture at a business training workshop offered by a not-for-profit organization on the legal ramifications of operating a business.

Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.4; 100.4(B); Opinions 98-121 (Vol. XVII); 94-57 (Vol. XII); 92-05 (Vol. IX).


        Prior to assuming the bench, a full-time judge lectured two weeks each year at a workshop sponsored by a not-for-profit organization. The workshop is designed to train new entrepreneurs, and the judge's lectures concern the legal ramifications of operating a business. Legal advice is not given, but the judge does discuss some of the legal problems attendees could confront as business owners. The judge asks whether it is ethically permissible to continue doing so after assuming the bench.

        A judge may engage in extra-judicial activities that do not conflict with the judge's judicial obligations, and such permissible activities may include serving as a lecturer. 22 NYCRR 100.4(B). Thus the Committee has previously advised that judges may teach law and other subjects, in a not-for-profit setting; See, e.g. Opinions 92-05 (Vol. IX), 94-57, (Vol XII), 98-121 (Vol. XVII). Accordingly, we see no reason why the inquiring judge may not continue to lecture on the law at a workshop for new entrepreneurs, subject to the limitations set forth in section 100.4 of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct.