Opinion: 96-03

March 12, 1996

Digest:  A part-time judge may be retained as independent counsel by the municipality in particular matters but may not preside in any cases involving the municipality.

Rules:  22 NYCRR 100.6(B)(4)


            A part-time City Court judge, who is an attorney, asks the following question:

May a sitting judge who is permitted to practice law, be engaged by the City .... as independent counsel to assist in matters, not referred to the City Corporation Counsel staff.

            The judge explains that the city in question often engages independent counsel to conduct certain legal work, which matters are not under the control of the City Corporation Counsel.

            The Committee is of the view that, under the circumstances presented, the inquirer may be engaged as counsel. However, if the city is likely to be a frequent litigant in the court where the judge presides, the judge, having served as counsel to the city, would have an attorney-client relationship with the city and therefore may not preside in matters involving the city.