February 4, 2016
This responds to your inquiry (16-04) asking if you, as a bar association’s membership committee member, may participate in the association’s membership drive and recruit new members with a complimentary one year membership. There is one prize for meeting the target recruitment level and an additional prize if the retention rate of the new recruits is particularly high.
Pursuant to the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct, a judge may not use the prestige of judicial office to solicit new members of an organization (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[C][b][i], [iv]). While it is permissible for a judge to solicit other judges, “he/she may not personally solicit membership or dues from non-judge members or non-judge prospective members” (Opinion 10-68).
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 11-128; 10-137; 10-68 and 08-156 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)