New York State Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics
Reporting to grievance committee
Attorney allegations of opposing counsel’s conduct
Background: The inquiring judge is presiding in a case where the defendant has raised questions about opposing counsel’s fitness to practice law. The defendant seeks to disqualify plaintiff’s counsel and impose sanctions, based on allegedly improper conduct by plaintiff’s counsel and its former associate. The allegations are based on the defense counsel’s observations and conversations with plaintiff’s counsel, and partly on allegations made by plaintiff’s counsel’s former associate in a now-sealed litigation between them. The judge asks if it is mandatory to report plaintiff’s counsel and its former associate to the grievance committee.
Opinion: The Committee concluded that, where the inquiring judge is not certain that the alleged conduct of an attorney violates the Rules of Professional Conduct, or concludes that the alleged misconduct is not substantial, the judge need not take further action, although the judge may do so, in the judge’s sole discretion.