Opinion: 98-05
January 28, 1998
Digest:    An association of judges may engage a lobbyist to represent its members in advocating legislation concerning the law, the legal system and the administration of their courts.

Rule:    22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(1):
            Opinion 93-78(Vol. XI)


            A judge who serves as a director of a state-wide association of part-time judges inquires if the association may engage a lobbyist to act in its behalf in supporting legislation sponsored by the association. The proposed legislation involves such matters as the extension of terms of judicial office, retirement benefits and other issues related to the court system and court personnel.

            The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct allow a judge to appear at a public hearing before an executive, legislative or other official body on matters concerning the law, the legal system or the administration of justice. 22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(1). The proposed legislation involves just such matters. Further, in Opinion 93-78(Vol. XI) this Committee indicated that a judges' association may engage in activities which express the group's position on such matters.

            Accordingly, the Committee sees no impropriety if a judges' association were to retain a professional consultant/lobbyist to engage in activities which would be permissible if done by its members individually or by the association itself.