LEO: Conflict of Interests - Familial LE Op. 676
Conflict of Interests - Familial Relationships - Attorneys
- Judges - Disqualification.
March 15, 1985
There is nothing inherently unethical about a lawyer appearing before a
judge who has a brother, brother-in-law or son in the attorney's firm. It
is incumbent upon the judge in those circumstances to make disclosure on
the record and, unless the parties and counsel agree, disqualify himself
from further participation.
Furthermore, the sole fact that a judge's nephew is a lessee of a partner
of a firm where the judge's son is a member would not be sufficient to
require disclosure by the court.
In addition, it is not improper for a judge's wife, who is the
receptionist in the law firm of the judge's son, to handle case files in
the son's law office, so long as the judge's wife does not handle case
files which have been assigned to her husband. Furthermore, the sole fact
of the employment of the judge's wife in the law office of the judge's son
would not require disclosure by the court. [Pt. 6, § III, Canons of
Judicial Conduct for the State of Virginia, Canon 3(C); LE Op. 623]
Committee Opinion March 15, 1985
See also LE Op. 750, LE Op. 845, and LE Op. 881.