22 NYCRR 100.3(E)(1); 100.3(E)(1)(b)(i), (ii).
A judge inquires whether recusal is required in a case where a certain lawyer is appearing. The lawyer recently purchased a law practice from a former associate of the judge. The associate of the judge had succeeded to the judge's law practice more than 25 years earlier. The matter does not involve a former client of the judge.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct require that a judge disqualify him/herself in any proceeding "in which the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned." 22 NYCRR 100.3(E)(1). This requirement expressly mandates disqualification in any instance where the judge or a lawyer with whom the judge previously practiced law served as a lawyer in the matter. 22 NYCRR 100.3(E)(1)(b)(i), (ii).
In the instant circumstances, the judge's last involvement with the original firm took place more than 25 years ago. The current firm is, perhaps, a continuation of the associate's firm, but certainly, after more than 25 years and two changes in principals, it cannot reasonably be considered to be the judge's firm for disqualification purposes.
Accordingly, in the opinion of the Committee this is not an instance "in which the judge's impartiality might reasonably be questioned" (22 NYCRR 100.3[E]), and therefore disqualification is not required.