January 27, 2000
A newly-elected full-time judge may receive compensation for the equity
value of the judge's share in a law partnership that is dissolving as a
result of the judge's election, as determined in accordance with generally
accepted accounting principles.
22 NYCRR 100.4(D);
Opinions 93-44 (Vol. XI);
89-134 (Vol. IV); 88-118 (Vol. II).
A newly-elected judge to a full-time judicial position inquires whether there is any ethical prohibition to receiving compensation representing the judge's share of the equity value of a law partnership dissolving as a result of the judge's election. In that connection, the judge asks whether there is any ethical prohibition preventing a certified public accountant retained by the judge from considering all factors in determining the value of partnership, including the anticipated strengths or weaknesses of the law practice beyond the date of dissolution.
The Committee has previously advised that there is no prohibition against
a judge's receipt of legal fees earned prior to his or her ascension to
the bench. Such compensation does not violate the provisions of the Rules
Governing Judicial Conduct pertaining to financial and business activities
of a full-time judge. See 22 NYCRR 100.4(D); Opinions 93-44 (Vol. XI),
89-134 (Vol. IV), 88-118 (Vol. II). Similarly, in our opinion, a judge
is not ethically prohibited from receiving the fair market value of the
judge's interest in the dissolving law partnership and having the value
of that share determined in accordance with generally accepted principles