Opinion: 99-52

March 11, 1999

Digest: A judge may preside over cases in which the judge's law clerk's landlord, who is an attorney, appears before the judge, provided the judge discloses the relationship and insulates the law clerk from participation in the matter.

Rule:  22 NYCRR 100.3(E)(1);
           Opinions 90-33 (Vol. V).


            A judge, whose law clerk resides in an apartment rented from an attorney, inquires whether the judge is disqualified from presiding over matters in which the law clerk's landlord appears.

            The Rules Governing Judicial Conduct require a judge to disqualify him/herself in any proceeding in which impartiality might reasonably be questioned. 22 NYCRR 100.3(E)(1). Here, the law clerk's relationship with the attorney/landlord does not automatically mandate the judge's disqualification. However, to avoid a perception of partiality, the judge should disclose the relationship to all parties and their attorneys and insulate the law clerk from participation in the matter. Opinions 90-33 (Vol. V).