January 30, 1992
Digest: A judge cannot accept free legal services from lawyers who may appear before the judge.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.2.
A judge asks whether it is appropriate to accept free legal services from a law firm which represents a bank in connection with the financing of a purchase of real property. The law firm routinely and customarily, as a matter of professional courtesy, does not charge legal fees to any local lawyers in mortgage transactions.
The judge should not accept free legal services from the local law firm, since attorneys in that law firm may appear before the judge, which would create an impermissible appearance of impropriety [22 NYCRR 100.2].