Opinion: 98-156
January 28, 1999
Digest:    A full-time judge may participate in the preparation of an educational videotape to be used in connection with a Continuing Legal Education program, and may authorize the use of the judge's name in the distribution of the videotape, where the program is sponsored by a non-profit legal educational organization.

Rule:      22 NYCRR 100.4(B), (C) (1);
               Opinions 97-56 (Vol. XV); 91-75 (Vol. VII).


            A full-time judge has been requested to participate in a conference on a legal topic, sponsored by a non-profit legal educational organization. The sponsoring organization has requested the judge to authorize the videotaping of the entire presentation. The videotape would then be incorporated into an "educational video program," apparently to be used by the organization as a provider of legal education under New York's mandatory Continuing Legal Education program. Authorization is also sought by the organization to distribute or otherwise use the videotape of the presentation, and to use the judge's name and biographical information in connection with such distribution. Concern is expressed by the judge for what the judge describes as a possible "commercial purpose" which might be served by the use of the judge's name.

            In Opinion 97-56 (Vol. XV) the Committee stated that "writing, lecturing and speaking on matters involving the improvement of the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice are well recognized areas of permissible extra-judicial activities 22 NYCRR 100.4(B), (C)(1)." Accordingly, as stated in Opinion 91-75 (Vol. VII), "Judges may participate in . . . continuing legal education programs and be listed in appropriate mailings which advertise educational programs, although fees are charged for participation." In accordance with these opinions, the Committee sees no ethical impediment to the judge's authorizing the use of the videotape or the judge's name as part of the Continuing Legal Education program being offered by this non-profit legal educational organization.