May 13, 2010
This responds to your inquiry (10-58) asking whether you may co-chair an educational conference on a timely legal subject sponsored by a for-profit entity. You indicate that you “would not be involved in any aspect of the marketing of the conference, logistics, costs, the social components, etc.” Rather, your role “would be to solely work with the co-chairs and staff to put together topics of interest beneficial to the Bench and Bar.” In addition, you would not be compensated for participating in the conference, but would be reimbursed for travel expenses.
Under the circumstances you describe, it is ethically permissible to serve as a co-chair of this conference where you will receive no compensation; you will not discuss any pending or impending cases; and the sponsoring entity is not a party in any matter pending before you. Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 05-12 and 00-120 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Associate Justice
Appellate Division, 1st Dept. (Ret.)