May 17, 2017
This responds to your inquiry (17-72) asking if you may interpose a pro se answer in a real estate case in which you and your siblings are defendants. You state you and your siblings have the same interest in the matter and all agree on the issues.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct provides “a full-time judge shall not practice law. Notwithstanding this prohibition, a judge may act pro se and may, without compensation, give legal advice to a member of the judge’s family” (22 NYCRR 100.4[G]). Thus, you may proceed pro se in the suit and assert your personal rights. However, even though your siblings’ interest is identical to your own, you may not interpose an answer on their behalf. They may also proceed pro se or hire counsel to answer the complaint.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 09-12 and 99-114, 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