April 27, 1995
Digest: A full-time judge need not disqualify himself/herself in a proceeding now pending before the judge where a law student who interned for the judge but who had no involvement in the case is now working for a law firm involved in that proceeding.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.3(c); Opinion 88-157, Vol. 111
A full-time judge from time to time accepts law students as interns. One such student who interned for the judge is now employed by a law firm which has a matter presently pending before the judge. The intern did not participate in any way in any aspect of this matter while with the judge.
The judge asks if he/she should disqualify himself/herself from this matter if requested to do so.
We conclude that there is no ethical bar to the judge's continuing with this matter and that the judge need not disqualify himself/herself in this pending proceeding, even if requested to do so.
In response to a previous request where a judge's former research clerk appeared before the judge as attorney for one of the parties, we stated, in language applicable to this situation, that:
Section 100.3(c) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator, which covers the disqualification of judges, contains no prohibition against a judge presiding over a case where the judge's former student research clerk is an attorney for one of the parties. Accordingly, the judge has no need to inform the parties of his relationship with the former student research clerk or to disqualify himself from presiding over the case, unless the judge personally has a doubt about his or her ability to remain impartial. (Opinion 88-157,Vol. III.)