Opinion 88-81

Sept 19, 1988


Topic:          Appearance of a part-time town justice, who is an attorney before another part-time justice, who is also an attorney, sitting in another county.


Digest:         A part-time justice may appear before a part-time justice sitting in another county as long as other Rules are adhered to.


Rule:            22 NYCRR 100.5(f)


         A part-time Town Justice, who also is an attorney, inquires whether he may practice before another part-time justice of a City Court in an adjoining county.

         The part-time Town Justice may practice in a court outside the county where he sits as a justice, as long as the justice is otherwise mindful of any particular appearance of impropriety.

         Section 100.5 (f) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator [22 NYCRR] provides:


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 (emphasis added).

         With the conditions for private practice so explicitly stated in 22 NYCRR 100.5 (f), a reasonable reading of that section invites the conclusion that those matters not prohibited are implicitly permitted.

         The policy behind the rules as promulgated by the Chief Administrator of the Courts is that it is desirable to have lawyers act as town justices, and that practical difficulties would arise it, because of such limited public service, they and their partners and associates were excluded from all practice before all town, village, or city courts, no matter where located. Accordingly, the town justice may appear in courts located another counties.

         This opinion is advisory only and does not bind either the Office of Court Administration or the Commission on Judicial Conduct.