November 19, 1992
NOTE: Although Opinion 92-118 remains in effect, Opinion 91-05 (cited herein) was overruled to the extent it suggests that a judge may provide informal, uncompensated legal advice to a friend who is not a member of the judge’s family (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[G]).
(G) Practice of Law. 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.
Digest: A full-time judge may not represent his or her daughter at a real estate closing.
Rules: Canon 5(F) of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
A full-time judge asks if the judge may represent his or her daughter, as an attorney, in her purchase of a co-op apartment, without a fee.
As Canon 5(F) of the Code of Judicial Conduct states that “a judge should not practice law,” the inquiring judge may not represent his or her daughter, even though the judge is not charging a legal fee. The judge, however, may offer informal, uncompensated legal advice when there exists no attorney-client relationship. [See letter 91-05].