Opinion 96-98

October 11,1996


Digest:         A full-time judge may participate as an incorporator and director of an Hispanic fraternal organization comprised of Unified Court System employees, and may be listed as a judge on the organization’s letterhead if others are comparably designated. The judge may not use his/her formal judicial designation on the certificate of incorporation nor should the judge’s chambers be designated as the address for the organization.


Rules:          22 NYCRR 100.4 (C)(3); 100.4 (C)(3)(b)(iv); Opinion 96-19.



         A group of Hispanic judges and Unified Court System (“UCS”) employees seek to form and incorporate a fraternal association for UCS employees. The inquiring full-time judge asks whether a judge may be a director, and be listed as an incorporator, using the judge’s formal designation in the certificate of incorporation. The judge also asks if court chambers may be designated as the corporate address of the association.

         Section 100.4 (C)(3) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct permits a judge to participate as an “officer, director. . .of a cultural, fraternal or civic organization not conducted for profit.” The judge’s intended participation as incorporator and director is consistent with the Rule. However, the judge’s judicial title should not be used on the certificate of incorporation.

         The use of the judge’s name on the letterhead is governed by section 100.4 (C)(3)(b)(iv), of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct, which permits such use and judicial designation if comparable designations are listed for other persons.

         With regard to the use of the judge’s chambers as the address of the organization, it is the opinion of the Committee that the judge’s chambers should not be used for such purpose. See Opinion 96-19.