February 19, 2015
PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
This responds to your inquiry (15-10) asking if you may preside in cases involving a local county agency where you were previously employed as a supervising attorney. Your current law clerk and secretary were also employed at the agency.
Assuming you are confident of your impartiality, you may preside in matters involving your former employer, only if they began after the employment ended, even if lawyers you previously supervised now represent the agency. But, you may not preside in matters started while you were a high ranking supervisor with the agency; in which cases remittal is unavailable.
If your law clerk or secretary had any previous involvement in a case before you, you must insulate that employee and disclose these facts to all parties. But, insulation and disclosure are not required if these employees had no direct, personal involvement in the matter and that employee’s name does not appear in any filed papers, even where the case is uncontested. If, upon disclosure, a recusal request is made, presiding is solely within your discretion.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinion 14-07 and Joint Opinion 07-105/07-119 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Division, First Dept. (Ret.)