December 9, 1993
Digest: A judge, acting as an instructor for the Court Clerk Examination, may include the title “Honorable,” as well as academic and teaching credentials in the course announcement.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.4(a), 100.5(b)(2)
A full-time judge, acting as an instructor for the Court Clerk Examination Course, asks whether it is permissible to have the title “Honorable,” as well as academic and teaching credentials, appear in the course announcement. The judge would be acting as an independent contractor in an instructor’s capacity giving candidates for the Court Clerk Examination a series of lectures on civil practice/procedure and/or other areas.
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.
In Opinion 90-2041, this Committee found that this rule clearly permits judges to serve as paid lecturers with the Court Clerk Development Program. In Opinion 92-052, this Committee found that full-time judges may serve as adjunct law professors at private universities which are not supported in any manner by public funds. Thus, a judge may act as an instructor for the Court Clerk Examination course since such a course falls within the scope of 22 NYCRR 100.4, and it is unsupported by public funds.
Section 100.5(b)(2) states, in pertinent part: “[n]o judge shall solicit funds for any educational ... organization, or use or permit the use of the prestige of the office for that purpose.” In Opinion 88-793, this Committee found that it is permissible to include a resume of a judge in a brochure published by a university. The brochure, containing background information and a photograph of the judge, was prepared by the judge’s alma mater to advertise the high caliber and high career achievements of the university’s alumni to the public and prospective employers. The prestige of the judge’s office was not being used in the solicitation of funds and the judge was not abusing the prestige of the judicial office.
In the current instance, the course announcement, containing the titles and positions of the instructors, was prepared to advise Court Clerk candidates of the qualifications of the instructors. The prestige of the judge’s office is not being used in the solicitation of funds. Accordingly, it is permissible for the judge’s title of “Honorable,” to be included, along with the judge’s academic and teaching credentials, in a course announcement regarding legal education.
1 Volume III.
2 Volume IX.
3 Volume II.