January 28, 1988
Topic: Part-time judge; private criminal practice
Digest: Part-time judge may not represent clients in criminal matters in any court within the county in which his or her court is located which is presided over by a judge who is permitted to practice law
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.5 (f)
The question posed is whether a part-time judge may represent clients in criminal proceedings in other courts located within the same county.
In Opinion 520 (April 23, 1980) the Committee on Professional Ethics of the New York State Bar Association came to the conclusion that part-time judges could represent clients in criminal matters “to the extent permitted by the applicable Rules of the Chief Administrator”.
The Rules of the Chief Administrator of the Courts (22 NYCRR 100.5(f) provides in pertinent part:
“Practice of law. A judge who is permitted to practice law shall, nevertheless, not practice law in the court in which he or she is a judge, whether elected or appointed, nor shall a judge practice law in any other court in the county in which his or her court is located which is presided over by a judge who is permitted to practice law”.
Since full-time judges are barred from practicing law, a part-time judge who is an attorney could represent clients in criminal matters pending in the Supreme or County courts, and in local courts other than the court in which he or she is a judge located in the same county as the court in which he or she presides provided that the judge or justice presiding in such local court is not permitted to practice law in this State.
This Opinion is advisory only and is not binding upon either the Office of Court Administration or the Commission on Judicial Conduct.