January 24, 1991
Digest: A judge may serve as a paid lecturer with the Court Clerk Development Program, a private profit-making enterprise which conducts programs to prepare court personnel for promotional examinations, which programs improve the legal system and the administration of justice.
Rules: 22 NYCRR §§100.4(a); 100.5(c)(1), 100.6(a) and 100.6(d)(1)(2)
A full-time judge asks whether it is permissible to participate in the Court Clerk Development Program, a private for profit enterprise that conducts programs designed to prepare court personnel for promotional examinations. The judge would be lecturing on the Family Court Act and would be compensated at the same rate as other lecturers, who are private attorneys and other court personnel. The lectures would be taped for use in other parts of the state.
Section 100.4(a) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator provides as follows:
A judge may speak, write, lecture, teach and participate in other activities concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice.
Additionally, a judge may receive reasonable compensation for “extra-judicial activities.” Compensation is reasonable if it does not exceed what a person, who is not a judge, would receive for the same activity. 22 NYCRR 100.6(a). A judge, however, may not receive compensation for extra-judicial activities performed for “New York State, its political subdivisions or any officer or agency thereof.” 22 NYCRR 100.6(d)(1). Further, a judge may not receive compensation from “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 the 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). Since the Court Clerk Development Program is a private for-profit enterprise not funded, in whole or in part, by the state, such activities are not prohibited.
Section 100.5(c)(1) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator sets forth the following restriction on extra-judicial activities:
A judge shall refrain from financial and business dealings that tend to reflect adversely on impartiality, interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties, exploit judicial position, or involve the judge in frequent transactions with lawyers or persons likely to come before the court on which he or she serves.
Since the judge will be lecturing to court personnel, it is unlikely that such persons will come before the judge as litigants. Further, the judge would be participating in activities which improve the legal system. Thus, it is most improbable that the judge would be engaged in any activity which would reflect adversely upon his or her judicial position.