April 28, 1994
Digest: A judge who is a member of an association of attorneys may be the honoree at its annual dinner at which funds are raised by solicitation of advertisements for a souvenir journal. However, the judge may not participate in any actual fund raising or solicitation activities.
Rules: 22 NYCRR sections 100.4(c) and 100.5(b)(2); Opinion 89-39, Vol. III
A full time judge inquires whether he/she may be the honoree at the annual dinner of an association of attorneys (not formally a bar association), funds for which are raised by soliciting advertisements for a souvenir journal.
All members of the association must be admitted to practice law. It conducts legal education seminars and monthly meetings concerned with current legal issues.
The association wishes to honor the judge with its Distinguished Service Award at its annual dinner. In connection with the dinner, funds are raised by soliciting ads in a souvenir journal. The judge however will not participate in any fund raising activities nor in the solicitation of ads for the journal. The funds are to be used for legal educational purposes.
22 NYCRR 100.4(c) as follows:
... a judge may serve as a member, officer or director of an organization devoted to the improvement of the law, legal system and administration of justice but shall not personally participate in public fund raising activities thereof.
However, 22 NYCRR 100.5(b) (2) further provides:
(2) no judge shall solicit funds for any educational, religious, charitable, fraternal or civic organization, or use or permit the use of prestige of the office for that purpose, but may be listed as an officer, director or trustee of such an organization, provided, however, that no such listing shall be used in connection with any solicitation of funds. No judge shall be a speaker or the guest of honor at an organization's fundraising events, but he or she may attend such events. Nothing in this Part shall be deemed to prohibit a judge from being a speaker or guest of honor at a bar association or law school function.
Although the association in question is not technically a "bar association", its functions are similar and the exception contained in section 100.5(b),(2) is applicable. Further, the judge has indicated that acceptance of the award will not involve participation in any fund raising activities whatever.
Accordingly, the Committee concludes the judge may accept the award and make an appropriate response thereto. (See also Opinion 89-39, Vol. III.)