December 27, 2007
A judge inquires about whether he/she may permit his/her law clerk to present the keynote address at an awards luncheon for a not-for-profit group that provides employment assistance to displaced homemakers.
In Opinion 91-42 (Vol. VII), the Committee advised that a judge may present a keynote address at a charitable organization’s annual awards dinner as long as the organization is not involved in proceedings before the judge and the event is not a fund-raiser. The Committee therefore concludes that there will be no appearance of impropriety under the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct if the judge’s law clerk presents a keynote address at an awards luncheon for a not-for-profit group. Please note, however, that while section 100.4(C)(3)(b)(ii) prohibits a judge from speaking at an organization’s fund-raising events, it does not prohibit the judge’s law clerk from doing so.
The judge’s law clerk may wish to contact the Unified Court System’s Office of Court Administration, the agency with the ultimate authority to interpret Part 50 of the Chief Judge’s Rules, for further guidance on any issues that may arise under the Rules Governing Conduct of Nonjudicial Court Employees. (Contact: ETHICS HELPLINE: 1-888-28-ETHIC.)