October 13, 2017
This responds to your inquiry (17-136) asking whether, as a part-time town justice, it is ethically permissible to accept paid employment as an advisor to a consulting firm which was retained by a municipality (other than the one in which you sit) “to conduct a study on the feasibility of subsuming its village court into the larger Town Court.”
A judge must always avoid even the appearance of impropriety (see 22 NYCRR 100.2) and act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the judiciary’s integrity and impartiality (see 22 NYCRR 100.2[A]).
A part-time judge may generally accept public or private employment which is not incompatible with judicial office and which does not conflict or interfere with judicial duties and may practice law within certain limits (see 22 NYCRR 100.6[B]-). In addition, a judge may engage in extra-judicial activities that concern improvement of the law, the legal system and the administration of justice (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[C]).
Accordingly, the Committee has previously advised that serving as a consultant to a nearby village to assist in the process of establishing a village court is not incompatible with judicial office and that such work is unlikely to conflict or interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties. Similarly, we see no ethical impropriety in working as a paid advisor for a municipality other than the one in which you preside to study the feasibility of restructuring the local court system.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 10-178; 10-163; 09-50 and 97-02 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Div., First Dep’t (Ret.)
Hon. Margaret T. Walsh
Family Court Judge
Acting Justice, Supreme Court