Opinion: 98-34
June 19, 1998
Digest:    A full-time judge may serve on the Labor Advisory Committee of the Center for Worker Education of a public college

Rule:    22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3);
            Opinion 88-151 (Vol. III)


            A full-time judge has been invited to serve as convener and chair of the Labor Advisory Committee to the City College Center for Workers Education, a degree-granting program of the City College of the City University of New York. The invitation is from the Executive Director of the Center. The purpose of the Labor Advisory Committee is to provide a regular mechanism for representatives of unions and other organizations that students belong to, to meet with the Center's officials.

            As explained by the judge, the purpose of the Center for Worker Education is to assist working people - mostly union members - to obtain a college degree. It was set up at the request of unions. The Center is involved with facilitating the educational process as it may relate to full-time workers who attend mostly in the evening. Students enroll through the Center and obtain a City College degree. The Center is involved in such things as scheduling of classes; making sure there is access to libraries which might otherwise be closed when such students would be using them; making educational adjustments when students have to work overtime; helping students who have been away from school for a long time; various mentoring and counseling programs; alerting the College to special problems involving such a student body, etc.

            According to the judge, the Center has nothing to do with employees who work for the College. It is not engaged in negotiations or collective bargaining. It is not involved in any way in politics. The judge is unaware of anything controversial about the Center or the proposed Labor Advisory Committee, the purpose of which is to meet with and assist students, as stated.

            Section 100.4(C)(3) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct provides, in part, that:

(3) A judge may be a member or serve as a director,
trustee or non-legal advisor of an organization or
governmental agency devoted to the improvement
of the law, the legal system or the administration of
justice or of an educational, religious, charitable,
cultural fraternal or civil organization not conducted
for profit, subject to the following limitations and the
other requirements of this Part.

(a) A judge shall not serve as an officer, director, trustee
or non-legal advisor if it is likely that the organization

                                (i) will be engaged in proceedings that ordinarily
                    would come before the judge, or

                                (ii) if the judge is a full-time judge, will be engaged
                    regularly in adversary proceedings in any court.

            Based upon the representations made by the judge, it is unlikely that the College will be a party to litigation before the judge. Accordingly, there appears to be no reason why the judge should not accept the invitation, provided that the activities of the Advisory Committee do not interfere with judicial duties (See e.g. Opinion 88-151 [Vol. III]).