93 N.J.L.J. 492
July 9, 1970
Conflict of Interests
Partners of Municipal Prosecutor
A municipality has announced its intention to create a new
post of prosecutor for the local municipal court. One of the
partners of a law firm is being considered for the appointment.
He has inquired if he accepts the appointment whether the other members of his firm are excluded from appearing before all administrative bodies within the borough namely before the borough council, zoning board and planning board.
We have considered this problem in the past and the answer is in the affirmative.
...an attorney who serves as a municipal prosecutor is serving as an attorney for the municipality and should be prohibited from appearing before the board of adjustment, planning board or mayor and council, representing a personal client, for in a situation such as presented here, there obviously would be a conflict of interest. N.J. Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics, Opinion 5, 86 N.J.L.J. 361 (1963).
This probation would apply to all members of the firm. See this Committee's Opinion 78, 88 N.J.L.J. 460 (1965).
A second inquiry is made as to whether the members of the firm are excluded from practice before other municipal courts or in criminal matters before the county court. If the matter in any way relates to the municipality where the attorney is a prosecutor, then the prohibition would continue; otherwise, in the absence of any conflict of interests the partners may appear in other municipal courts and in the county courts.