Opinion: 97-17

March 13, 1997

Digest:  A judge's law clerk may engage in fund-raising activities for a not-for-profit child care center and for the United Fund, provided the activities are not conducted on court property or during working hours.

Rules:  22 NYCRR 100.3(C)(2); 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i);
             Opinions 95-51 (Vol. XIII), 90-102 (Vol. VII).


            A judge inquires whether the judge's law clerk may engage in various fund-raising activities for a not-for-profit child care center of which the law clerk is director and secretary. The judge further asks whether the law clerk may be involved in the solicitation of funds for the United Fund.

            Pursuant to section 100.3(C)(2) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct, a judge must insure that staff, court officials, and others subject to the judge's direction and control, observe the standards of fidelity and diligence that apply to the judge. This does not mean however, that the limitations on the extra-judicial conduct of a judge automatically apply to the judge's law clerk. Thus, the Committee held in Opinion 95-51 (Vol. XIII) that a principal law clerk to a full-time judge may serve as a member of the board of directors of a state employees credit union so long as such membership did not interfere with the clerk's regular duties. Further, in Opinion 90-102 (Vol. VII) it was held that a law clerk may engage in certain political activities provided no such activities were conducted in the courthouse or during the clerk's normal working hours.

            Thus, while a judge is prohibited from personally participating in the solicitation of funds or other fund-raising activities for a charitable organization (22 NYCRR 100.4(C)[3](b)[i]) that prohibition does not extend to a judge's law clerk.

            Accordingly, the Committee believes that the described fund-raising activities are permissible if conducted away from court property and during non-working hours.