March 14, 1991
Digest: A judge may serve as keynote speaker and receive a plaque at a non-fundraising annual awards dinner of a charitable organization.
Rules: 22 NYCRR §100.5(b).
A full-time judge requests an opinion concerning the appropriateness of accepting an invitation to be a keynote speaker or to accept a plaque at an annual awards dinner of a local charitable organization. The dinner is not a fundraiser, but is to honor individuals who have worked in the area of domestic violence. The organization provides counseling to victims of domestic violence, but does not provide any legal representation.
Section 100.5(b) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator permits judges to participate in civic and charitable activities “that do not reflect adversely upon impartiality or interfere with the performance of judicial duties.” Section 100.5(b)(2) prohibits judges from serving as speakers at fundraising events. As the organization is not involved in proceedings before the judge and as the dinner is not a fundraiser, the judge may serve as a speaker or receive a plaque at the annual dinner.