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Home / Case Digests / NYS Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics — Part-time Judge: Opinion 12-182

NYS Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics — Part-time Judge: Opinion 12-182

NYS Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics

Part-time Judge

Equal Shares in a Law Firm —Proceeding against the Municipality

Opinion 12-182

Background: The inquiring part-time judge is a principal of a professional limited liability company law firm, who shares equally from the profits of the firm with his fellow principals. There is no segregation or differentiation of the origin of the funds that come into the common fund. Potential clients seek to hire the firm in an Article 78 proceeding against the municipality in which the judge sits.  The proceeding concerns a real estate transaction where new municipal offices would be built, including new court facilities.

Ruling: The committee concluded that a part-time judge presiding in a municipality may not consent to his law firm’s proposed representation of claimants in an Article 78 proceeding against the municipality, where the outcome of the proceeding would directly affect the municipality’s court facilities, particular if the judge would share equally in the earned legal fee.