October 23, 2003
Digest: It is ethically permissible for a judge to serve as president of a chapter of the Women’s Bar Association.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3); 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i), (iv); 100.5(A)(1); Opinion 88-100 (Vol. II); 96-49 (Vol. XIV); 98-50 (Vol. XVI).
A judge asks whether it is ethically permissible to serve as president of a chapter of the Women’s Bar Association. The by-laws of the association describe its purposes as follows:
The purposes of the organization are to promote justice for all, regardless of sex, in all phases of the study, practice and application of law, to ascertain and advance the social, economic and legal status of women through law, to expand opportunities for women for advancement in the field of law, and to raise the level of competence and integrity in the legal profession.
Pursuant to Section 100.4(C)(3) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct, a judge may serve as a member, officer, or director of an organization or government agency devoted to the improvement of the law, the legal system or the administration of justice. A judge, therefore, may serve as president of a chapter of the Women’s Bar Association. Such service is not, however, without restriction. For
example, a judge who is a member or officer of a bar association may not personally participate in the solicitation of funds or other fund-raising activities on behalf of the association [22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i), (iv); Opinion 98-50 (Vol. XVI)] and must refrain from engaging in any partisan political activity [22 NYCRR 100.5(A) (1); See Opinions 88-100 (Vol. II); 96-49 (Vol. XIV)].