November 29, 2010
Note: Please review Opinion 13-26 before relying on this opinion, as it has been modified to be consistent with Opinion 13-26.
This responds to your inquiry (10-72) asking whether an attorney may continue to appear in Family Court on appointed and retained matters when he/she represents your secretary in a federal court matter.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct do not prohibit you from continuing to appoint the attorney to serve in cases over which you preside while the attorney is representing your secretary in a federal court matter. However, you should insulate your secretary from any cases involving the attorney or the attorney’s law firm until such time as your secretary’s case is concluded, all fees have been paid, and the time to appeal has elapsed or any appeal taken is completed. In addition, during the pendency of the federal lawsuit, you should disclose that the attorney represents your secretary in a personal legal matter when the attorney or a member of the attorney’s law firm appears in your court, and that he/she is insulated from the attorney’s and his/her law firm’s cases. However, you need not disclose the specific nature of your secretary’s personal legal matter.
Once your secretary’s case is concluded, all fees have been paid, and the time to appeal has elapsed, or any appeal taken is completed, you are no longer required to insulate your secretary from the attorney’s cases nor to disclose that the attorney represented your secretary.
Enclosed for your convenience is Opinion 95-96 which addresses this matter.
Very truly yours,
George D. Marlow
Appellate Division, First Dept (Ret.)