Opinion 21-79

May 25, 2021

Dear :

         This responds to your inquiry (21-79) asking whether, as a part-time justice, you may serve on the board of a not-for-profit educational organization with a primary focus on educating first responders, parents and teachers on how to interact with individuals on the Autism Spectrum and/or their care givers in crisis situations. The entity’s training programs will be offered throughout the country and will cover such issues as how to recognize someone who is on the Autism Spectrum and how to help search for a runaway autistic person. The program will also demonstrate different coping/calming techniques.

You indicate that you would serve on the board of directors but would not be involved in the instructional aspect of the organization.

         A part-time judge generally may serve as an officer or director of a not-for-profit charitable or civic organization, if the entity is not likely to be engaged in proceedings that ordinarily would come before the court nor interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[C][3][a][i] and 100.4[A][3]). In addition, a judge may not personally participate in the solicitation of funds or engage in other fund-raising activities, although they may assist in planning fund-raising activities (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[C][3][b][i]).


As we see no likely ethical conflicts with this not-for-profit educational organization, we conclude that you may serve as a member of its board, subject to limitations on fund-raising and other generally applicable limitations on judicial speech and conduct.


         Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 20-137; 10-187 and 07-81 which address this issue.

                                                 Very truly yours,

                                                 Margaret T. Walsh

                                                 Committee Co-Chair

                                                 Supreme Court Justice

                                                 Lilian Wan

                                                 Committee Co-Chair

                                                 Acting Supreme Court Justice