94 N.J.L.J. 600
July 8, 1971
Conflict of Interest
Employee of Attorney for Municipal Agency
This Committee was asked to consider the following inquiries:
1. Is it proper for an employee of the attorney for the planning board to practice before the board of adjustment of the same municipality?
2. May an attorney member of the board of adjustment practice before the planning board or other municipal agencies in the same
The answer to both inquiries is in the negative. This Committee has previously stated that it is improper for an attorney member of the board of adjustment or other municipal agency to practice before another agencies in the same community. See our Opinion 64, 87 N.J.L.J. 801 (1964); Opinion 70, 88 N.J.L.J. 161 (1965); Opinion 37, 87 N.J.L.J. 190 (1964); and Opinion 88, 89 N.J.L.J. 49 (1966). The same prohibition is clearly applicable to attorneys representing such municipal agencies, their partners, office associates, or those merely sharing office space. Opinion 4, 86 N.J.L.J. 357 (1963); Opinion 15, 86 N.J.L.J. 734 (1963). The rationale in each instance is based upon our view that an attorney representing a municipality or any of its agencies has as his client the entire municipality. Opinion 4, 86 N.J.L.J. 357 (1963). He must, accordingly, avoid all situations that might reasonably lead the public to conclude that he has used the influence of his office to serve private interests or which otherwise cast doubt upon his fidelity to the municipality which he senses.