June 23, 2021
This responds to your inquiry (21-87) asking whether you may prepare an uncontested divorce package for a former client for whom you had previously prepared a separation agreement while you were in private practice.
The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct prohibit a full-time judge from practicing law. Therefore, a full-time judge may not complete unfinished legal work after assuming the bench (see 22 NYCRR 100.4[G]; NY Const, art VI § 20[b]; Matter of Intemann, 73 NY2d 580 ). While the Committee has advised that a full-time judge may complete certain ministerial or administrative functions necessary to effectuate dissolution of their private practice, a divorce action, even if uncontested and pursuant to a separation agreement, is a new legal proceeding and would not qualify as a mere ministerial or administrative act.
Accordingly, you may not prepare an uncontested divorce packet for your former client.
Enclosed, for your convenience, are Opinions 15-128; 05-130(A); 04-137; and 96-89 which address this issue.
Very truly yours,
Supreme Court Justice
Acting Supreme Court Justice