September 14, 1993
Digest: It is ethically permissible for the law partner of a city court judge to commence an action against the city in which the judge sits, provided that the individual attorney, and not the firm, is the attorney of record, and that the judge disassociates himself or herself from the case and receives no part of the fee therefrom.
Rule: 22 NYCRR 100.5(f).
An acting city court judge who is permitted to practice law inquires whether there would be a violation of the Judiciary Law or the Rules of Judicial Conduct if the judge's law partner commences, on behalf of a client, an action against the city in which the judge sits. The inquiring judge states that the action will not be commenced in the city court.
First, this Committee points out that it is not authorized to advise on questions concerning the law, and therefore it offers no opinion on that facet of the judge's inquiry.
With regard to the ethical question, it is the opinion of this Committee that, as a matter of judicial ethics as it relates to the inquiring judge, the inquiring judge's law partner may commence such action, provided that the law partner alone is the attorney of record, and that the judge disassociate himself or herself from the case and receive no part of the fee generated by the action.