October 23, 2009
This responds to your inquiry (09-159) asking whether it is ethically permissible for you to accept a position as a part-time Deputy Corporation Counsel in the City of _______ which is located in the same county where you serve as a town justice. The part-time counsel position involves primarily the defense of negligence claims against the city, requiring your appearance in Supreme Court, where you already regularly appear, and Federal Court.
A part-time judge may accept public employment in a municipal department or agency, provided that such employment is not incompatible with judicial office and does not conflict with the proper performance of his/her duties (see 22 NYCRR 100.6[B]). Since you will not be practicing law in the court in which you serve or in any other court in the county in which your court is located before a judge who is permitted to practice law, the part-time counsel position will not be incompatible with your judicial duties. Enclosed, for your convenience, is Opinion 97-126, which addresses this issue. However, in the unlikely event that a matter comes before you as Town Justice which involves the City of _______ or any of its employees, you are disqualified (see 22 NYCRR 100.3[E]).
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow
Justice of the Supreme Court (Ret.)