December 12, 2016
PERSONAL & CONFIDENTIAL
This responds to your inquiry (16-148) asking if it is ethically permissible to serve as a director of a local Urban League. The Committee understands this is a not-for-profit entity not associated with law enforcement, not likely to be in litigation in any court, and apparently not controversial as its vision is “[t]o provide opportunities for members of all communities in our city to have access to education, employment and a living environment that fosters mutual respect.”
The Committee has previously approved membership on Boards of not-for-profits subject to generally applicable limits on judicial speech and conduct, i.e., a judge may not personally participate in soliciting funds (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[C][b][i], [iv]); the judge’s extra-judicial responsibilities may not interfere with his/her judicial responsibilities (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[A]); and the not-for-profit is unlikely to be engaged in cases ordinarily coming before the judge. As you are a full-time judge, the entity may not be regularly engaged in adversary proceedings in any court (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[C][a][ii]).
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 16-124 and 04-09 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Div., First Dep’t (Ret.)
Hon. Margaret T. Walsh
Family Court Judge
Acting Justice, Supreme Court