March 9, 1995
Digest: A Magistrates' Association of which judges and lawyers are members may host a panel discussion concerning the law and charge a participation fee to cover the costs of the luncheon and materials.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.4(a).
A county Magistrates' Association, of which judges and lawyers are members, will be sponsoring a workshop and panel discussion concerning current developments in the Criminal Procedure Law, DWI and Family Violence laws. A judge inquires whether or not the association may charge a small participation fee to cover the costs of catering the luncheon and materials.
Section 100.4 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator provides that judges "may speak, write, lecture, teach and participate in other activities concerning the law, the legal system and the administration of justice." As the topic of the workshop and panel discussion are clearly related to the legal system, the judge may participate in the program.
As stated in Opinions 91-75, Vol. VII, and 91-139, Vol. VIII, "traditionally, bar associations and similar organizations have conducted seminars, forums and programs to enhance legal professionalism for which fees are charged. This is consistent with judges' and attorneys' responsibility to be faithful to the law and maintain professional competence in it."
As it is not a fund-raising event, we see no objection to a small charge to cover the cost of the luncheon and materials.