Opinion 23-203


February 1, 2024


Facts/Issue:    A full-time court attorney-referee would like to return to the practice of law after retiring from the Unified Court System and asks if there are any judicial ethics impediments to doing so.  The referee also asks about appearing before certain judges and receiving court appointments.


Discussion:     In our view, these questions are legal in nature.  Ordinarily, a former quasi-judicial official who is fully retired from the Unified Court System is no longer subject to the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct (see 22 NYCRR 100.6[A]).  Questions about possible appearances and appointments as a private attorney involve the inquirer’s conduct after leaving the judiciary.  Because we are authorized to answer only questions concerning judicial ethics (see 22 NYCRR 101.1), such questions are outside our jurisdiction.


Conclusion:     Questions about a former quasi-judicial official’s return to the private practice of law after retirement from the court system raise primarily legal questions beyond our jurisdiction.


Authorities:    Opinions 18-16; 16-136; 15-152; 12-37.