October 22, 2012
This responds to your inquiry (12-118) asking whether you may represent your county bar association at the signing of a “co-operation agreement” with a sister European city’s district bar council for the exchange of mutual professional, social and cultural interests. The signing is to take place in the foreign sister city, and the trip will be at your own expense.
Bar Associations are “devoted to the improvement of the law, the legal system or the administration of justice” (22 NYCRR 100.4[C]). Accordingly, the Committee has approved of judges participating in bar association activities as members, officers, or committee members, as these activities promote professionalism among attorneys and judges.
This particular activity is, therefore, ethically permissible because it enhances professionalism among fellow attorneys in different countries. Furthermore, the activity does not “cast reasonable doubt on [your] .... capacity to act impartially” (22 NYCRR 100.4[A]) and does not appear to involve controversial matters.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)