Opinion: 98-36
March 12, 1998
Digest:    A judge may accept a $500 honorarium for participating in a seminar on certain aspects of the law, sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Rules:    22 NYCRR 100.3(B)(8);
              100.4(H)(1)(a); 100.4(H)(2)


            The inquiring full-time judge asks the following question: "May a Supreme Court Justice receive a $500 honorarium for participation in an out of town seminar entitled the "Legal Aspects of Divorce for the Pediatrician," sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics?"

            Section 100.4(H)(1)(a) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct states:

(1) Compensation and Reimbursement. A full-time
judge may receive compensation and reimbursement
of expenses for the extra-judicial activities permitted
by this Part, if the source of such payments does not
give the appearance of influencing the judge's
performance of judicial duties or otherwise give the
appearance of impropriety, subject to the following

      (a) Compensation shall not exceed a reasonable
amount nor shall it exceed what a person who is not
a judge would receive for the same activity.

            Participation in a seminar dealing with aspects of the law is a permitted extra-judicial activity, and the Committee has no reason to believe that the $500 honorarium is excessive. Thus, the judge may accept the honorarium.

            Since that sum exceeds $150, it is to be reported to the Clerk of the Court, as required by section 100.4(H)(2) of the Rules. Further, the judge should be aware that in participating in the seminar, it is not permissible to "make any public comment about a pending or impending proceeding in any court within the United States or its territories." 22 NYCRR 100.3(B)(8).