1993-05: Judge-Director of non profit

Opinion No. 93-5

September 21, 1993

TOPIC: Judge as an officer of a not-for-profit organization.

DIGEST: A judge may serve as an officer of a not-for-profit corporation, subject to certain limitations.

 REFERENCES: Illinois Supreme Court Rules 65B(1) and (2) of the Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon 5, (145 Ill.2d R.65).


The judge is the president of the board of directors of a not-for-profit organization that teaches the retarded to be self-sufficient. The retarded do make and sell things through the organization. The organization has agreed to keep the judge's name off all fund-raising materials and not to involve him in the solicitation of funds. There is little likelihood of the organization ever appearing in court.


Is it permissible for a judge to be the president of the board of directors of a not-for-profit organization?


Yes, a judge may serve as an officer, director, trustee, or nonlegal advisor of an educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organization not conducted for the economic or political advantage of its members. The Rule does impose certain limitations however, and the Rule should be read carefully to determine whether the limitations apply to these particular facts. For example, as the president of the board of directors, the judge's name would probably appear on the organization's letterhead. The judge should determine whether organization letterheads would be used in an effort to solicit funds and whether the use of his name in that fashion might be interpreted as a violation of the Rule.