Opinion: 99-03

January 29, 1999

Digest: The fact that the former law partners of the judge's court attorney have purchased the court attorney's interest in the law partnership and are paying for it over a ten-year period does not require the judge to recuse himself or herself in matters in which the former partners appear, but there should be disclosure and insulation of the court attorney in such matters.

Rule:  22 NYCRR 100.3(E);
           Opinions 97-07 (Vol. XV);
           94-34 (Vol. XII).


            A county court judge inquires whether the judge may preside over proceedings involving the former partners of the court attorney in view of the fact that the partners have purchased the attorney's interest in the partnership and are paying for it in installments over a ten-year period.

            It is the opinion of this Committee that disqualification of the judge is not required under section 100.3(E) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct. However, in order to avoid even the possibility of an appearance of impropriety, the Committee believes that the judge should make full disclosure on the record of the above-described relationship, and that suitable precautions are taken to insure that the court attorney is insulated from any involvement in such proceedings. See Opinions 97-07 (Vol. XV); 94-34 (Vol. XII).