94 N.J.L.J. 309
April 22, 1971
Conflict of Interest
Freeholder - Associate
A firm of attorneys proposes to sublet some of its space to
other attorneys, one of whom is a member of the county board of
freeholders. We are asked whether the firm may continue to practice
before the county board of taxation in the county where the
subtenant attorney is a freeholder.
We have dealt with related aspects of this problem in earlier opinions. Specifically in Opinion 106, 90 N.J.L.J. 97 (1967), we said that it is improper for a county attorney to appear before the county board of taxation. Much of what we said there applies here. R. 1:15-4 provides that the limitation on practice imposed by R. 1:15 on an attorney extends to partners, employers, employees or office associates. The term "office associate" includes an attorney who is renting space from another attorney. See Opinion 22, 87 N.J.L.J. 13 (1964).
Opinion 106 deals with the county attorney's appearance before the county board of taxation. It is clear that what is prohibited for the county attorney is prohibited for the freeholder attorney.
Since the freeholder attorney is an office associate of the inquirer, it would be improper for the inquirer or anyone in his firm to appear before the county board of taxation.