September 20, 2007
This responds to your inquiry (07-97) about whether you may accept an invitation to speak without compensation at a seminar for lawyers, staff, and interns of the (a New York State Agency). You explain that the topic would be a “view from the bench” and you would discuss judicial review of agency determinations in Article 78 proceedings. You indicate that, to the best of your knowledge, you have no Article 78 proceedings before you.
Section 100.4(B) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct permits a judge to “speak, write, lecture, teach and participate in extra-judicial activities subject to the requirements” of the Rules. 22 NYCRR 100.4(B). Interpreting this provision, the Committee has permitted judges to speak before and teach lawyers at government agencies. Opinion 93-54 (Vol. XI). Moreover, in Opinion 07-37, the Committee advised that a judge may write a chapter of a book on prosecutorial ethics, published by prosecutors, if the judge (i) does not comment on any pending or impending case; (ii) avoids creating the perception of partiality or predisposition toward deciding matters a certain way; and (iii) does not give advice on strategy. Opinion 07-37.
The Committee concludes that your proposed speaking engagement falls well within this existing precedent, and is therefore permissible, subject to the