Opinion 22-19


March 7, 2022

Dear : 

          This responds to your inquiry (22-19) asking if you may provide a testimonial for use in a not-for-profit organization’s marketing materials, including their website, handbook, and social media pages. You have served for several years as a volunteer in the organization’s mentoring program and the requested testimonial will consist of three to four sentences and a headshot, to communicate the value of the program to future participants.

          A judge must always avoid even the appearance of impropriety (see 22 NYCRR 100.2) and must not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others (see 22 NYCRR 100.2[C]). We have said that a judge may not provide a quote to be included in a not-for-profit daycare organization’s informational brochure concerning the need for the daycare services it provides, noting that it was “not unreasonable to conclude that such brochures ... are intended to serve a promotional function” (see Opinion 05-56). We have also recently advised that a judge may not provide a biographical video for use in a not-for-profit organization’s social media campaign, when the required release and the overall context create an impression that the judge’s video will be used to promote the organization at its gala fundraising event (see Opinion 21-31).

Thus, we conclude that you may not provide a testimonial for the not-for-profit organization, as there is no limitation on the organization’s ability to use the testimonial (cf. Opinions 15-104; 11-97).


Enclosed for your convenience are Opinions 21-31; 15-104; 05-56; 11-97 which address this issue.


                                           Very truly yours,



                                           Margaret T. Walsh

                                           Supreme Court Justice

                                           Committee Co-Chair


                                           Lillian Wan

                                           Supreme Court Justice

                                           Committee Co-Chair