By: Daily Record Staff//November 15, 2023
By: Daily Record Staff//November 15, 2023//
New York State Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics
Ex-judge’s former law clerk
Ex-judge’s new law firm
Background: An ex-judge from the inquiring judge’s court recently left the bench and became “of counsel” to a law firm in which the ex-judge’s life partner is a member. The ex-judge will never personally be the attorney of record in the inquiring judge’s court. The ex-judge’s former law clerk has been hired by the inquiring judge.
Opinion: The Committee concluded that where the inquiring judge’s current law clerk was previously the longtime law clerk to another judge, who is now “of counsel” to a law firm but will work exclusively with one attorney and never appearing in court, the judge need not disqualify or disclose when the law firm colleagues of the ex-judge appear. Whether the judge must insulate the law clerk from cases involving other attorneys from that firm is fact-specific and depends on the nature of the relationship between the law clerk and the attorney who appears.