April 1, 2014
This responds to your inquiry (13-187) asking whether it is ethically permissible to participate in and critique a mock settlement conference to be held as part of a private law firm’s associate training program.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct allow a judge to speak, write and teach (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[B]). However, a judge may not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interest of others (see 22 NYCRR 100.2[C]). Accordingly, the Committee has previously determined that it is incompatible with judicial office for a judge to provide the benefit of his/her judicial knowledge, expertise and experience by conducting a legal seminar exclusively to the lawyers of one particular firm (see Opinion 09-92; see also 22 NYCRR 100.4[A]).
Enclosed for your convenience are Opinions 09-92; 04-111 and 01-58 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)