Opinion 88-118

October 27, 1988


Topic:          Can a full-time judge accept fees for legal services performed prior to going on the bench?


Digest:         There is no prohibition against the receipt of legal fees earned before assuming judicial office.


Rule :           22 NYCRR 100.2(a)


         After years of legal practice a judge was appointed to the criminal court, and arranged for other attorneys to take over all his remaining cases. He received fees for work he actually performed prior to going on the bench. At present there is outstanding one personal injury claim and one Social Security claim for which he expects to receive payment and he seeks an opinion as to the propriety of such fee arrangement.

         While a judge must avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety, [22 NYCRR §100.2(a)], there is no prohibition against a judge collecting legal fees which he earned before leaving the practice of law.

         This opinion is advisory only and does not bind either the Office of Court Administration or the Commission on Judicial Conduct.