Opinion 93-11

January 28, 1993


Digest:         A full-time judge may allow the judge’s law clerk, whose live-in companion is an assistant county attorney, to work on cases involving the Department of Social Services, provided that the clerk’s companion is not involved in those cases.


Rules:          22 NYCRR 100.2(a); 100.2(c)


         A full-time Family Court judge recently hired a part-time law clerk, who cohabits with an assistant county attorney of the opposite sex. The couple have a child in common, but are not married. Although the Department of Social Services employs three other assistant county attorneys to represent the Department in Family Court matters, the law clerk’s companion does not appear in Family Court, nor does the companion’s name appear on any papers in the Family Court. The judge inquires whether the relationship of the law clerk’s companion to the other assistant county attorneys would prevent the clerk from working on cases in the Family Court involving those attorneys.

         Section 100.2(a) and (c) of the Rules of the Chief Administrator require a judge to conduct himself or herself in a manner that promotes public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary, and that does not convey the impression that any person is in a special position to influence him or her.

         Accordingly, the judge’s law clerk may work on those cases where assistant county attorneys appear on behalf of the Department of Social Services in the Family Court, provided, however, that the law clerk’s live-in companion attorney has not had any involvement in the matter.