By: Daily Record Staff//December 11, 2015
By: Daily Record Staff//December 11, 2015//
NYS Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics
Former Law Firm – Financial Relationship
Background: A full-time judge, on the bench for under two years, asks if disqualification is required in a case involving a current or former client of the judge’s former law firm. The judge practiced law with the firm for two decades before becoming a judge, but had minimal contact with the particular client. The firm also owes the judge undistributed capital.
Opinion: The committee concluded that a full-time judge is disqualified, subject to remittal, when a client or former client of the judge’s former law firm appears before the judge. This obligation continues until two years after the financial relationship between the judge and the former firm completely ends, including return of any distributed capital to the judge. After that period, the judge has no further obligation to the former client; the decision of whether to disclose or recuse is confined solely to the judge’s discretion after considering all relevant factors.