April 29, 1999
A part-time City Court judge may continue in private law practice in partnership
with another attorney, even if that attorney seeks or is elected to the
office of mayor of the city.
22 NYCRR 100.5(A)(1)(c) and (e); 100.6(B)(3).
A part-time city court judge inquires whether it is appropriate to continue in private law practice with a partner who is seeking to be elected mayor.
Section 100.6(B)(3) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct relates to the practice of law by part-time judges. That rule prohibits a part-time judge from permitting his or her partners or associates to practice law in the court in which he or she is a judge. The partner was not allowed to practice law in the City Court prior to the candidacy for mayor and would still be prohibited during the campaign and after the election.
City Courts are state courts and City Judges are State officials. The mayor, as a city official has no control over the salary or other employment benefits of City Judges. Therefore, there is no appearance of impropriety manifested by the partnership relationship between the judge and the mayor.
In addition, the mere fact that the City Judge maintains a law partnership with an individual who seeks election as mayor does not manifest an endorsement of the partner's candidacy and would not, therefore, violate the Rule prohibiting partisan political involvement by a judge. 22 NYCRR 100.5(A)(1)(c) and (e).
Accordingly, the inquiring part-time judge may continue in private law
practice with a partner, who seeks the elected office of mayor.