May 15, 2013
This responds to your inquiry (12-140)asking if it is ethically permissible for you to deliver remarks at a luncheon for associates of a private law firm. You indicate that each year a law firm in your area holds an annual event for new associates and often invites a judge to speak about their experiences.
Although judges may speak, lecture and teach, the particular circumstances when doing so must be compatible with judicial office and the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct generally (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[B]). The Committee has previously advised that it is incompatible with judicial office for a judge to provide the benefit of his/her judicial knowledge, expertise and experience to lawyers of a particular firm (see Opinion 09-181 [judge may not speak during private law firm’s forum for women]; 09-92 [judge may not present in-house CLE program for lawyers and paralegals; 01-58 [Vol. XX] [judge may not provide instruction in legal writing and advocacy skills to law firm associates). For the same reason, you should not deliver remarks at a luncheon with an exclusive audience comprised of the associates of a private law firm.
I have enclosed Opinions 09-181, 09-92 and 01-58 (Vol. XX) for your convenience.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)