86 N.J.L.J. 621
November 7, 1963
Conflict of Interests
The question has been presented as to whether there is any
impropriety in an attorney who is also a municipal clerk
representing defendants in the municipal court of the same
It is the opinion of the Committee that such conduct is improper. R. 1:26-3 prohibits an attorney who is a member of the governing body of any municipality from practicing before its municipal court. The same principle is equally applicable to the case of a municipal clerk who is an attorney. As such clerk, he is identified in the public eye with the affairs of the municipality
in general. He should avoid retainers from others where he is or may appear to be opposing action by the municipality on behalf of a private client. Just as in the case of a municipal attorney representing a private client before a municipal agency, the losing litigant, or the public in general, will be troubled by the suspicion that his adversary's success in the matter was attributable to his position or influence as a municipal official. See N.J. Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics, Opinion 4, 86 N.J.L.J. 357 (1963).