Opinion: 01-78

June 27, 2001





Digest:  A full-time district court judge may apply for admission to practice before the United State Supreme Court.
 

Rule: People v. Alfani, 227 NY 334 (1919);
           Uniform District Court Act §103(d)(4);
           22 NYCRR 100.4(G).
 
 

Opinion:

            A full-time district court judge asks whether he or she may seek admission to practice before the United State Supreme Court without violating the prohibition against the practice of law by full-time judges. The Uniform District Court Act and the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct prohibit the practice of law by a full-time district court judge. Uniform District Court Act §103(d)(4); 22 NYCRR 100.4(G).

            In People v. Alfani, 227 NY 334 (1919), the Court of Appeals noted that the practice of law is not confined to appearances in court, but includes all actions taken on behalf of clients in matters connected with the law. 227 NY at 337. But, while applying for and gaining admission to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States or any other court is a necessary pre-condition for the practice of law, it does not follow that admission to the bar in and of itself constitutes the practice of law under this generally understood definition. Thus, the judge may apply for admission to practice before the United States Supreme Court.