Opinion 21-118

December 9, 2021

Dear :

         This responds to your inquiry (21-118) asking if you, a full-time judge, may serve on a community advisory committee for a religiously affiliated not-for-profit nursing home.

         Section 100.4(C)(3) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct provides that a judge generally may serve as an officer, director, or “non-legal advisor” of a religious or charitable organization not conducted for profit. However, a judge must not so serve if the entity will likely “be engaged in proceedings that ordinarily would come before the judge” (22 NYCRR 100.4[C][3][a][i]). Moreover, a full-time judge also must not serve if the entity will likely “be engaged regularly in adversary proceedings in any court” (22 NYCRR 100.4[C][3][a][ii]).

         Applying these principles, we have said a full-time judge may serve as a member of the board of directors of a not-for-profit nursing home or a not-for-profit entity that runs community-based health care facilities, where the judge’s board responsibilities do not interfere with the judge’s judicial duties.

         Here, nothing in the inquiry suggests this not-for-profit nursing home is likely to be engaged in litigation or other problematic activities. Accordingly, you may serve on its community advisory committee. You are reminded that you must not personally participate in membership solicitation or fund-raising activities and, because you are a full-time judge, you may not provide legal advice.

         We enclose Opinions 20-45, 03-138 and 03-74 for your convenience.

                                                 Very truly yours,

                                                 Margaret T. Walsh

                                                 Supreme Court Justice

                                                 Committee Co-Chair


                                                 Lillian Wan

                                                 Acting Supreme Court Justice

                                                 Committee Co-Chair