June 18, 1992
Digest: A part-time judge may work as a legal secretary for an attorney who shares space with another attorney who is the county public defender, but the judge must disqualify himself or herself in all cases involving the public defender or the office of the public defender.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.2.
A part-time judge is employed as a legal secretary by an attorney who is about to enter into a space-sharing arrangement with another attorney for whom the secretary will perform nominal secretarial tasks. The second attorney is also the county public defender who maintains that office at another location. The public defender does not make any appearances in the inquiring judge’s court, but the assistant public defender does make appearances there. The inquiring judge asks whether he or she is prohibited from continuing to work for the current employer.
In view of the fact that the public defender will be the attorney of record, the inquiring judge must disqualify himself or herself in all cases involving the public defender or the office of the public defender. If that involves too frequent disqualification, and an undue burden on the co-judge, the inquiring judge will have to choose between the two positions.