September 14, 1999
A full-time judge may execute a loan application with former law partners
for the purpose of paying off financial obligations and debts of the firm
that were in existence prior to the judge ascending the bench.
22 NYCRR 100.4(G).
A recently elected full-time judge has been asked by his/her former law partners to join in a loan application for the purpose of paying off those financial obligations and debts of the firm in existence as of the date the judge's law practice terminated by virtue of the judge ascending to the bench. The firm itself terminated its law practice as of that date but continues to exist in name only for the purpose of winding up the affairs of that partnership.
The Committee does not believe that there is any ethical barrier preventing the judge from joining in the loan application. Presumably the judge is proportionally liable for the payment of those firm debts which preceded his/her becoming a judge and all that is involved is an arrangement to satisfy those pre-existing obligations. Thus, participation in the loan application for the purpose stated does not constitute the practice of law and therefore does not violate section 100.4(G) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct.