November 17, 2017
This responds to your inquiry (17-157) asking whether, upon being appointed to the bench full-time, you may finish up two civil litigation matters in connection with closing your private practice. In particular, you ask whether you may file a closing statement with OCA in one action and whether you may have releases signed and mailed; deposit the settlement check; distribute the client’s portion of the settlement proceeds; and file a closing statement in the other action.
While a full-time judge may not practice law (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[G]), “the Committee has advised that a full-time judge may nonetheless complete certain functions after assuming judicial office if those functions are truly ministerial or administrative in nature and necessary to effectuate dissolution of the judge’s practice” (Opinion 15-128). The work you describe in connection with winding down your practice does not involve the practice of law but, rather, is strictly ministerial and, therefore, ethically permissible.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 15-128 and
04-137 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