September 14, 2004
Digest: A full-time judge may not teach at a Continuing Legal Education(CLE) program sponsored by a commercial business entity.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.4(B); 100.4(D)(3); Oinions 98-121 (Vol. XVII); 99-151 (Vol. XVIII); 01-58; 01-86.
A full-time judge has been invited to serve as a faculty member at a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) program sponsored by a commercial business entity. The company will charge attendees for the service and will provide an honorarium to the presenters based upon the number of paid attendees. The judge inquires about the propriety of teaching at such a program and accepting the honorarium offered.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct allow a judge to speak, write and teach. 22 NYCRR 100.4(B). However, the Rules also restrict a full-time judge from being an active participant in a business entity. 22 NYCRR 100.4(D)(3).
In applying that prohibition, this Committee has previously determined that a full-time judge should not act as an instructor for a profit-making company which provides pre-law preparatory instructions for applicants to law schools; teach a course in civil litigation at a commercial, for-profit proprietary educational institution; teach at a CLE program for a law firm’s associates; serve as an advisor to a for-profit company involved in courtroom automation, or participate in an educational video-production being produced by a for-profit entity. See, e.g., Opinions 98-121 (Vol. XVII); 99-151 (Vol. XVIII); 01-58; 01-86.
Accordingly, the inquiring judge may not serve as a faculty member at a CLE program run by and for the benefit of a commercial business entity.