June 12, 2003
Digest: A judge may attend monthly bar association meetings together with his or her spouse, and its annual dinner dance as the guest(s) of the bar association.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.4(D)(5); 100.4(D)(5)(a).
A judge asks the following questions: (1) May the judge attend monthly bar meetings at a local restaurant as a guest of the bar association? The cost of the dinner provided is approximately $30. (2) May the judge and the judge’s spouse attend a bar association’s annual dinner-dance as guests of the association? The cost for the event ranges from approximately $85 - $150 per person.
Section 100.4 (D)(5) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct generally prohibits judges from accepting gifts, bequests, favors or loans. However, subdivision (a) of section 100.4(D)(5) specifically provides that a judge may accept “an invitation to the judge and the judge’s spouse or guest to attend a bar-related function.” The monthly bar association meetings and the annual dinner dance fall within this category and it is therefore permissible for the judge to accept such invitations on behalf of him/herself and spouse.