February 13, 2008
A town justice inquires about the propriety of a part-time town justice also serving as village attorney for a village located within the town. The town justice indicates both municipalities maintain justice courts and that the village employs a separate village prosecutor who prosecutes village code violations and other litigated matters brought exclusively in the village court. The town justice further states that his/her duties as village attorney include advising the village board, preparing easements and contracts, and other municipal matters.
In Opinions 07-60 and 97-24 (Vol. XV), the Advisory Committee saw no ethical incompatibility where a town justice also served as a village attorney. A town justice, therefore, may also serve as a village attorney for a village within the same town so long as the village retains a separate attorney to act as a prosecutor (But see Opinion 98-51 [ Vol. XVI]). The Committee renders no opinion, however, about the legal compatibility of the two positions.