Judicial Ethics Opinion 21-17 | New York Law Journal

May 12, 2021

The Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics responds to written inquiries from New York state’s approximately 3,600 judges and justices, as well as hundreds of judicial hearing officers, support magistrates, court attorney-referees, and judicial candidates (both judges and non-judges seeking election to judicial office). The committee interprets the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct (22 NYCRR Part 100) and, to the extent applicable, the Code of Judicial Conduct. The committee consists of 27 current and retired judges, and is co-chaired by the Honorable Margaret Walsh, a justice of the supreme court, and the Honorable Lillian Wan, a court of claims judge and acting supreme court justice.

Digest: Where a new full-time judge was previously a law firm partner and took a loan from the firm’s 401(k) profit sharing plan, the judge may remain in the plan temporarily in order to pay back the loan and receive the plan’s annual employer matching contribution based on the judge’s prior legal work and earnings.  The judge must continue to disqualify from matters involving the former firm and the judge’s former partners and associates during this period and for two years after the financial relationship completely terminates.