March 26, 2014
This responds to your inquiry (14-16) asking whether it is ethically permissible for the Board of a County Bar Association, which includes several judges, to send a letter to the Chief Judge of the State of New York, voicing the Association’s opinion about a proposed change in the Chief Administrator’s rules governing attorney registration concerning voluntary unpaid pro bono services by attorneys. The letter will be printed on bar association letterhead, but will not indicate that the signatory and other board members are judges.
Judges may participate in the activities of organizations devoted to the law, the legal system or the administration of justice (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[B], 100.4[C]). Accordingly, it is ethically permissible for you to write and send the proposed letter on behalf of the County Bar Association.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 07-170; 06-121; and 03-63 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)