January 19, 2010
Please note that the proposed rule has been adopted as 22 NYCRR 100.6(B)(5)
This responds to your inquiry (09-135) asking whether members of your firm are precluded from appearing in the City Court to which you have been temporarily assigned.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct do not preclude your firm from appearing in the Court to which you have been temporarily assigned simply because you have accepted temporary assignments to preside there in the past and anticipate being asked to preside there in the future. Rather, pursuant to the current rules, your firm may not appear before you or any other judge in that court “while the temporary assignment order is in effect” (Joint Opinion 08-220/08-222, enclosed for your convenience; see also 22 NYCRR 100.6[B]). Accordingly, while there is no prohibition to your accepting the temporary assignment, your firm may not appear in that court for the duration of your temporary assignment.
However, the Committee has sent the following proposed rule amendment to the Chief Administrative Judge for her to consider whether to present it to the Administrative Board of the Courts for determination on such a rule change:
Nothing in this rule shall further limit the practice of law by partners or associates of a part-time judge in any court to which such part-time judge is temporarily assigned to serve pursuant to Section 106(2) of the Uniform Justice Court Act or Section 107 of the Uniform City Court Act in front of another judge serving that court before whom the partners or associates are permitted to appear absent such temporary assignment.
The Committee has proposed this rule change because the members believe the current strict rule unnecessarily limits the practice of law and may be likely to discourage available part-time lawyer judges from accepting these temporary and important assignments.
The Committee suggests that you contact Chief Counsel Maryrita Dobiel (518-453-8649) or the undersigned (845-454-2125) in a few months, and we will apprise you of the status of this proposed rule amendment.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow
Justice of the Supreme Court (Ret.)