Opinion: 99-43

March 11, 1999

Digest: A judge may attend and accept an award at a fund-raising dinner sponsored by a law school organization, but the judge may not personally solicit funds on behalf of the organization.

Rule:  22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3)(b)(ii).


            A judge has been nominated to receive an award from a "Law Enforcement Law Students' Association" of a local law school. The group is an organization recognized and supported by the law school's administration. The award would be give to the judge at a dinner and the judge's name and picture would be featured in a journal distributed in connection with the dinner. The judge does not disclose whether the dinner is a fund-raising event for the organization, although it appears that this is what is intended.

            Although a judge may not be the speaker or guest of honor at a fund-raising event for a civic charitable, fraternal, religious or educational organization, the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct provide for an exception if the event is a bar association, law school, or court employee organization function. 22 NYCRR 100.4(C)(3)(b)(ii). In our opinion, given its status as a bona-fide organization supported by the law school, this organization falls within the law school exception.

            Therefore, the judge may attend and receive the award at this function even if the dinner is a fund-raising event. The judge, however, may not personally solicit funds on behalf of the organization.