April 6, 2018
This responds to your inquiry (18-16) asking if, upon retiring from your two positions as a part-time judge and law clerk for an administrative or supervising judge, you may appear in courts in the county and municipality where you are now employed and accept assigned counsel appointments.
A former judge or law clerk , retired and not a JHO or otherwise re-employed as a quasi-judicial official within the Unified Court System, is not subject to the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct. Post retirement restrictions of Part 16, barring appearances by former appellate court judges and justices before the courts in which they were members for two years, do not apply to trial judges or court staff. But, whether you may appear in certain cases or represent certain clients presents an issue of professional ethics and/or law beyond the scope of this Committee’s jurisdiction (see Judiciary Law § 212[l]; 22 NYCRR 101.1). Also, assuming you may otherwise appear in a specific case, any Part 36 court appointments in The Rules of the Chief Judge are barred in the two years following judicial office in the jurisdiction you served (see 22 NYCRR 36.1; 36.2[c]).
We decline to address the ethics duties of any judges before whom you might wish to appear, as they decide if recusal is warranted in a specific case.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 16-136; 12-37; 08-214; and 04-121 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow, Assoc. Justice
Appellate Div., First Dep’t (Ret.)
Hon. Margaret T. Walsh
Family Court Judge
Acting Justice, Supreme Court