April 27, 2015
PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
This responds to your inquiry (15-81) asking whether you may accept a bar association’s gift of complimentary admission to an upcoming law-related conference for you and a guest, along with food and lodging expenses. You have calculated the value of the gift to be approximately $1500. You indicate you will not be making any presentations at the conference, but you preside over the type of cases in which the sponsoring section of this bar association specializes.
While the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct do not permit a judge to accept all gifts (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[D]), a judge may nevertheless accept gifts in limited circumstances, including “an invitation to the judge and the judge’s spouse or guest to attend a bar-related function” (22 NYCRR 100.4[D][a]). Accordingly, the Committee has previously advised that a judge may attend a function of a bar association as a guest, “even if the function or affair is expensive” (Opinion 87-15[a][b]).
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 03-55 and 87-15(a)(b) which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)