January 21, 2011
This responds to your inquiry (10-195) asking whether you may attend a holiday celebration hosted by the prosecutor’s office where you worked just prior to assuming the bench.
The Committee previously has generally advised, subject to various limitations, that a judge may socialize with attorneys. Thus, judges may attend holiday and other special occasion celebrations sponsored by law firms, legal agencies and legal services agencies, and otherwise accept ordinary social hospitality from such entities. This would include entities that regularly appear before the judge, as long as the judge avoids any actions that may be perceived to advance the private interests of the organization or of individuals attending, or which may otherwise create an appearance of impropriety (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[D][c]; Opinions 06-170, 91-136[Vol. VIII]; 87-15(a),(b) [Vol. I]; 87-12(a)(b) [Vol. I]).
Therefore, you may attend a holiday celebration hosted by the prosecutor’s office where you worked just prior to assuming the bench, subject to the same limitations.
I have enclosed copies of Opinions 06-170, 91-136 (Vol. VIII); 87-15(a),(b) (Vol. I); 87-12(a)(b) (Vol. I) for your convenience.