Digest: A part-time judge who is a practicing attorney may preside over a small claims lawsuit commenced by a litigant who is a part-time judge in the same county and who also practices law.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 100.6 (B) (2), Opinions 93-09, 90-103, 90-11, 89-71.
A part-time judge who practices law inquires whether another part-time judge who practices law may commence an action as a litigant in his/her court. The two part-time judges serve in different towns, but in the same county.
There is no rule prohibiting a judge from asserting a cause of action in any court which has jurisdiction, and from thereafter appearing in that action as a litigant pro se or by counsel. (See Opinion 93-09, Opinion 90-103, Opinion 90-11, Opinion 89-71). The rule, which prohibits one part-time judge who is permitted to practice law from practicing law in the court in which he/she serves as judge, or in other courts in the same county before another part-time judge who is permitted to practice law (22 NYCRR 100.6[B]) does not prohibit the inquiring attorney-judge from presiding in a case in which another part-time judge who is permitted to practice law is appearing as a litigant, and who is represented by counsel.