June 13, 1997
NOTE: The Chief Judge’s rules concerning dual employment of nonjudicial court employees now appear at 22 NYCRR 50.3. For guidance on Part 50 (formerly Part 25), court personnel may consult the Office of Court Administration’s Nonjudicial Ethics Helpline (888-283-8442).
Digest: A full-time law clerk to a Supreme Court Justice may be allowed to be a candidate in a city school board election and may serve as a compensated member of the board, so long as such service does not interfere with the law clerk's court responsibilities and permission for such dual employment has been obtained pursuant to section 25.37 of the Rules of the Chief Judge.
Rules: 22 NYCRR 25.37; Opinion 94-19 (Vol. XII).
An Administrative Judge asks if a full-time law clerk to a Supreme Court Justice may be allowed to be a candidate for election to a city school board. Candidates in the school board elections run as political party nominees. If elected, the law clerk would receive compensation for service on the board. The school board meets in the evening and the Supreme Court Justice for whom the law clerk works has determined that service as a school board member will not interfere with the performance of the law clerk's duties and consents to the law clerk's service on the board.
The Committee has previously stated that it would be permissible for a part-time law clerk to serve on a school board. That conclusion was based upon on a determination that such service would not constitute the practice of law. Opinion 94-19 (Vol. XII). The Committee also held that service on the school board would not be proscribed so long as such activities do not interfere with law clerk's court responsibilities and the judge has no cause to restrict the clerk from performing such duties.
Since service on the school board would not constitute the practice of law, the same standard that applies to a part-time law clerk would apply to the full-time law clerk, i.e., such activities are permitted if they do not interfere with law clerk's court responsibilities and the judge has no cause to restrict the clerk from performing such duties.
In addition, the law clerk must receive the written approval of his/her appointing authority prior to assuming school board membership. Such approval is also subject to the written consent of the Chief Administrator of the Courts. 22 NYCRR 25.37.