Opinion 93-54

April 29, 1993

Please note that Opinion 12-44 overrules 05-134 and "modifies Opinion 93-54 (Vol. XI), rather than overruling it, because there is nothing inherently unethical about providing legal instruction to the attorneys in the New York City Corporation Counsels office, outside of the trial advocacy context, in a manner that does not create a perception that the judge is providing partisan advice on litigation strategy or tactics (see, e.g., Opinion 07-97)."


Digest:         Although a New York City Supreme Court justice may act as a faculty member of a trial advocacy training program sponsored by the New York City Corporation Counsel’s office, he or she may not accept a stipend for participating.


Rules:          22 NYCRR 100.4(a); 22 NYCRR 100.6(d)(1) and (2)


         A Supreme Court justice sitting in New York City inquires whether a judge may accept a stipend for participating as a faculty member in an “annual intensive trial advocacy training program” sponsored by the New York City Law Department, Office of the Corporation Counsel, for the benefit of Law Department attorneys. The training program will be held at the Fordham University School of Law, although Fordham University School of Law is in no other way involved.

         Pursuant to section 100.4(a) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator, a judge may “teach and participate in activities concerning the law.” However, pursuant to Section 100.6(4)(1) and (2) no judge may “receive compensation for extra-judicial activities performed for or on behalf of:


1. New York State, its political subdivisions or any officer or agency thereof,” or from


2.a “college or university financially supported in whole or in part by New York State or any of its political subdivisions”, except “for teaching a regular course of study at any college or university”.

         It is the opinion of this Committee that the inquiring justice may participate in the trial advocacy program, but may not accept the stipend. The Law Department is an agency of New York City, which is a political subdivision of the State. The proposed activity does not constitute teaching a regular course of study at a college or university, even though the program is physically being held on the premises of the Fordham University School of Law. An additional concern is posed by the fact that the Corporation Counsel appears in so much litigation before the Supreme Court within New York City, in which the inquiring justice sits, even though at this time the justice is not assigned to hear any cases involving the City of New York.