April 5, 1990
Digest: A judge may preside over cases brought by the Department of Social Services, where the judge formerly was employed, provided that the judge did not serve as an attorney in the matter. The judge also may hold stock in a private corporation and, while a nominee, may try cases as an attorney while awaiting confirmation of the judicial appointment.
Rules: 22 NYCRR §§100.3(c); 100.5(k).
An attorney recently nominated to be a full-time judge asks whether a judge may hear petitions filed by the Department of Social Services, where the judge formerly was employed, whether the judge may hold stock in a private corporation headed by the judge's spouse, and whether as a nominee for the judicial office, but prior to confirmation by the Senate, and acting as an attorney for DSS, it is permissible to try a case in the court where the nominee will sit after confirmation.
The judge may preside over cases involving the Department of Social Services where the judge did not participate as attorney in the matter. The judge need not disclose the prior employment to the parties in those cases in which the judge was not involved as an attorney, but may not preside over any matters in which the judge was involved as an attorney (see opinion 89-117). The judge may continue to own stock in a small corporation, of which the judge's spouse is the president, but may not participate in the operation or management of the business. The judge, as an attorney nominated for judicial office but not yet confirmed, also may try cases in the court where the judge will sit as well as in any other court prior to confirmation of the appointment by the Senate.