Opinion 08-144

October 2, 2008

Note: The third paragraph has been superseded in part by 22 NYCRR 100.6(B)(5).

Dear Judge :

         This responds to your inquiry (08-144) in which you ask whether you or other attorneys in your law firm may continue handling matters in the town court where you have been temporarily assigned to preside over a single landlord tenant case.

         The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct provide that a judge who is permitted to practice law shall not practice law in the court on which he/she serves and shall not permit his/her partners or associates to practice law in the court on which the judge presides (see 22 NYCRR 100.6[B] [2] and [3]). In Opinion 97-87, this Committee advised that such prohibition required a town justice to decline an assignment to sit as an acting city judge while he/she had matters pending in the city court. You now ask whether the prohibition in this opinion extends to you, given that you are handling only one case, as well as to the other attorneys in your firm.

         In the Committee’s view, 22 NYCRR 100.6(B)(2) clearly prohibits you, your partners and your associates from appearing in the town court where you have been temporarily assigned. The fact that you are assigned temporarily to hear only one case does not warrant a different result. Under these circumstances, you may either decline the assignment or you and the other attorneys in your firm must withdraw from any pending or future cases while you are presiding in that court.


Very truly yours,


George D. Marlow

Justice of the Supreme Court

Committee Chair