96 N.J.L.J. 1129
September 27, 1973
Conflict of Interest
P.B.A. Attorney - Criminal Practice
An attorney who is presently legal advisor to a local
policemen's benevolent association inquires whether he, or members
of his firm, are precluded from appearing in any magistrate's court
where no member of the local PBA is involved in any way; or in the
county criminal courts where no member of the local PBA is involved
in any way.
Neither NJ Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics Opinion 113, 90 N.J.L.J. 473 (1967) nor Opinion 196, 94 N.J.L.J. 65 (1971), can be read so broadly as to preclude the inquirer or members of his firm from appearing in any court where no member of the local PBA represented by the inquirer is involved in any way. Opinion 113 is clear in describing the ethical problem as arising when the attorney representing the P.B.A. appears in court on matters in which the police officer is the complainant or a witness for the complainant. Absent this circumstance, it is our opinion that there is no impropriety in appearing before these tribunals, nor do the circumstances reasonably give rise to the appearance of impropriety. This opinion is intended to supplement our Opinions 113 and 196 and is not intended to modify such opinions in any way.