December 22, 2004
This responds to your inquiry (03-50) whether a town justice may practice law together with the town attorney, and, if so, under what circumstances.
The Committee believes it impermissible for the town attorney’s legal staff to appear in your court, be it a deputy or some other designated attorney appearing on the town attorney’s behalf. Section 100.6(B)(3), of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct states that a part-time judge “shall not permit his or her partner or associate to practice law in the court in which he or she is a judge.” 22 NYCRR 100.6(B)(3). That a designated representative is appearing does not disguise the fact that the town attorney is the attorney of record, a fact which raises the question of the inquirer’s actual or apparent official involvement in a particular case.
We further point out that no appearance is permissible before a co-judge within the same town court. 22 NYCRR 100.6(B)(3).
We enclose for your consideration Opinion 95-112, Vol. XIII, which addresses the issues raised by you.