Opinion 90-128

December 11, 1990


Digest:         A judge may accept reasonable compensation for participating in a seminar at a private institute, provided that the institute is independent of a university which receives public funds, or that the compensation is for teaching a regular course of study.


Rules:          22 NYCRR §§100.4; 100.6(d)(2)


         A judge inquires if it is permissible to accept compensation in the sum of $375 for teaching a seminar presented by an independent institute which is located on the campus of a private university which receives some state funds, but where the seminar is funded only by seminar fees and annual membership fees. The seminar takes place two times per month and seminar participants receive two credits of continuing professional education upon completion of the course.

         The funds from which the judge is paid come from seminar fees and annual institute membership fees paid by seminar attendants. The institute presenting the seminar is an independent organization which pays the private university for the use of its facilities.

         Judges are permitted to speak, write, lecture, teach and participate in activities concerning the law, the legal system and the administration of justice. 22 NYCRR §100.4. A judge may receive reasonable compensation for extra-judicial activities, provided that the activities are not performed for “a school, college or university that is financially supported, in whole or in part, by New York State or any of its political subdivisions; or any officially recognized body of students thereof, except that a judge may receive ordinary compensation for teaching a regular course of study at any college or university if the teaching does not conflict with the proper performance of judicial duties.” 22 NYCRR 100.6(d)(2).

         If, as represented, the institute compensating the judge is an independent organization receiving no state funds and not part of the university, and the judge’s services are not performed for the university, or, in the alternative, if the compensation is for teaching a regular course of study at the university, the judge may receive reasonable compensation.