June 9, 2006
Digest: An appellate judge may give a seminar on appellate practice to the staff attorneys of a public authority, to be held in the courtroom, subject to certain limitations.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.3(B)(8); 100.4(B); 05-12; 04-15; Joint Opinion 03-84/03-89.
An appellate judge has been invited to give a seminar to the staff attorneys of a public authority and inquires if it is ethically appropriate to accept the invitation. The seminar would be held in the courtroom. The judge would be the only participant and expects to speak for 15 minutes on appellate practice. The judge would not be compensated.
Judges may speak, write, lecture, teach and participate in educational programs, conferences, symposia and the like on matters concerning the law, the legal system, and administration of justice, and the fact that the lawyers who constitute the audiences for such events may be advocates on behalf of particular groups does not render such participation suspect. 22 NYCRR 100.4(B); Joint Opinion 03-84/03-89.
Accordingly, the judge may accept the invitation to give the seminar in the courtroom. The judge should exercise caution, however, to insure that (1) he or she is not perceived as giving what amounts to partisan advice on questions of strategy or tactics as to how the lawyers are best likely to succeed, and (2) he or she does not comment on any pending or impending proceedings. 22 NYCRR 100.3(B)(8). The judge should also determine that the corporation is not a party in a contested adversarial proceeding presently pending before the judge. Opinion 04-15.