November 15, 1994
Digest: A part-time town judge who is employed as a paralegal by a law firm must recuse himself/herself in cases in which the law firm appears, but such cases may be heard by the other town judge.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.2; 100.3(c); 100.5(f)
The two part-time judges of a town submit a joint inquiry. One of the judges is enrolled in the paralegal degree program at a community college and, as part of the required studies, is about to embark upon a three-month internship in the offices of a local attorney.
At issue is whether Rule 100.5(f) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator, which deals with the practice of law by part-time judges, is applicable. If so, then such cases could not be heard by a judge of the same town. However, the inquirer, although employed by a law firm as a paralegal, is not an attorney and is not engaged in the practice of law.
Accordingly, there must be recusal by the paralegal judge when the law firm appears, but such cases may be transferred to and heard by the other town judge.