April 28, 1994
Digest: A board of judges as a party in a lawsuit and appearing as an institutional body may be represented on a pro bono basis.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.5(3).
In Opinion 94-23 (Vol. XIII), the Committee deferred for subsequent consideration the matter of the period of recusal that would be required under the facts presented, and the question of whether it is permissible for the board of judges as an institutional body to be represented on a pro bono basis, i.e., without being charged legal fees.
It is the opinion of the Committee that where recusal is required, under the facts presented, the appropriate period of recusal as held by the Committee in analogous circumstances, would be two years.
As to the payment of legal fees, the Committee sees no ethical impediment to the board of judges, acting as a collective entity and in an institutional capacity, and pursuant to agreement with the attorneys, receiving legal services on a pro bono basis or paying for such services at a lesser rate than might otherwise be charged by the attorneys.
Accordingly, the question of recusal of judges is not affected one way or the other by the fact that the representation is on a pro bono or compensated basis.