Opinion 13-59

January 27, 2014


Dear Justice:

         This responds to your inquiry (13-59) asking whether you may preside when a particular law firm appears. You indicate you either have or have had social or professional relationships with two attorneys who are partners in the firm and one attorney who is a contract partner. You state that none of these attorneys will appear in your court.

         You also indicate that one of the attorneys previously was a partner with a different law firm where your law clerk was employed as an associate.

         Although disqualification or disclosure may be required when an attorney with whom you have a social relationship appears before you (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[E][1]; Opinion 11-125), this obligation does not automatically extend to the attorney’s firm colleagues (see Opinion 12-85[B]).

         With respect to your law clerk, the relationship you describe between him/her and one of the attorneys is too indirect and attenuated to warrant even disclosure.

         I have enclosed Opinions 12-85(B), 11-125, and 09-27 for your convenience.

                                                 Very truly yours,

                                                 George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice

Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)

Committee Chair