Opinion: 99-25

March 11, 1999

Digest:  A part-time judge who is a lawyer, may on behalf of a client file a judgment in a case which had been submitted to another part- time lawyer-judge in the same county for decision prior to when the inquirer became a judge.

Rule:  22 NYCRR 100.6(B)(2), (3).


            A recently-elected part-time judge who practices law, inquires about the application of sections 100.6(B)(2) and (3) of the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct which pertain to the practice of law by part-time judges. The inquirer was not a judge when the case in question was submitted to a part-time lawyer-judge in the same county for a decision on stipulated facts. Decision was reserved. The inquiring judge has since assumed the position of part-time judge in the same county and inquires as to the propriety of filing a judgment in the matter if the client is successful. At issue is section 100.6(B)(2) of the Rules which prohibits a part-time judge from appearing before another part-time judge within the same county who is permitted to practice law.

            The Committee is of the opinion that the inquiring judge may file the judgment. This conclusion is based on the fact that the matter would not require anything more at that stage than a purely ministerial act, especially since the matter was submitted on stipulated facts. It would be a hardship on the client to be required to employ additional counsel for a matter that would be essentially concluded. The judge may not, however, engage in any other service of a legal nature in this matter before a part-time lawyer judge of another court in the county. We also note that section 100.6(B)(3) does not prohibit the judge's partner from handling the matter, since the case is not pending in the judge's court.