Opinion: 99-141

September 14, 1999

Digest: A judge may use judicial stationery informing fellow law school alumni of an upcoming annual law school homecoming event which is not a fund-raiser, provided that the letter is clearly marked "Personal and Unofficial".

Rule:  22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3); 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i);
           Opinions 97-11 (Vol. XV); 94-99 (Vol. XII);
           89-86 (Vol. IV); 88-92 (Vol. II).


            The inquiring judge asks if it is permissible to send a letter to fellow school alumni in which the alumni are informed of and asked to participate in the law school's upcoming annual homecoming event. It is the judge's intention to use judicial stationery headed by the notation "PERSONAL & UNOFFICIAL." The event does not involve any fund-raising.

            The Committee has repeatedly acknowledged the propriety of judicial participation in alumni affairs, provided such activities do not involve fund-raising. 22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3); 100.4(C)(3)(b)(i); see, e.g. Opinions 97-11 (Vol. XV); 94-99 (Vol. XII); 89-86 (Vol. IV); 88-92 (Vol. II). In particular, the Committee has stated that a judge, as co-chair of a law school alumni association's annual luncheon, may send a letter to other judges informing them of the event and requesting their participation. Opinion 94-99 (Vol. XII). Although not stated, it can be presumed that judicial stationery was being used in that instance. We see no impropriety in that regard since, as the inquiring judge recognizes, the letter would clearly indicate that it is not an official judicial communication.