Opinion 87-15 (a)(b)


Topic:          (a) Attendance by a judge at an attorney’s law firm’s holiday party or other social function; (b) attendance by a judge as a guest of a lawyers’ organization, at an “outing,” dinner, or other social function of that organization


Digest:         (a) A judge may attend an ordinary holiday-type party or similar function given by a lawyer, law firm or legal agency; (b) a judge may attend an “outing,” dinner, or other function of a bar association or similar lawyers’ association as guest of the association


Rules:          100.5(c)(3)


         Section 100.5(c)(3) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator of the Courts (22 NYCRR 100.5(c)(3) govern acceptance of gifts by judges.

         (a) That Rule provides that a judge may accept “ordinary social hospitality.” If a lawyer, law firm, or legal agency invites a judge to attend an ordinary holiday party, or similar social function, the judge may attend. The emphasis is on the word “ordinary”; this would not include, for example, a party that provides guests with a complete dinner at an expensive restaurant, a cruise, or like affair that is more expensive or lavish than an ordinary party.

         (b) The committee is of the opinion that a judge may attend a function of a bar association or other similar lawyers’ association as a guest of that association, even if the function or affair is expensive.

         This opinion is advisory only and does not bind either the Office of Court Administration or the Commission on Judicial Conduct.