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

 

CROSS REFERENCES

 

See also LE Op. 750, LE Op. 845, and LE Op. 881.