September 20, 2007
NOTE: This opinion has been modified by Opinion 09-04, which reaches a similar result on different grounds.
This responds to your inquiry (07-100) regarding whether your child, a law student, may work as an unpaid legal extern in the District Attorney’s office in the same county as your court.
Section 100.2(B) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct prohibits a judge from allowing “family, social, political or other relationships to influence the judge’s judicial conduct or judgment.” 22 NYCRR 100.2(B). In Opinion 96-42 (Vol. XIV), the Committee applied this section to an almost identical inquiry, holding that a judge may be assigned to criminal court even though his/her adult children are assistant district attorneys in the same county. We concluded that, so long as the children do not appear before the judge and do not have any involvement in matters before the judge, the assignment is permissible.
Accordingly, so long as you and your child abide by the same caveats, the externship is permissible.
We enclose a copy of Opinion 96-42 for your convenience.