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                                         99 N.J.L.J. 715
                                        August 12, 1976


Appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court


Conflict of Interest
Appealing Client's Municipal Court
Conviction Defending Municipality in Civil Action

    The inquiring attorney represented a client, charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol, before a township municipal court. Subsequent to that retainer the attorney was engaged by the same township to defend it in four separate suits brought by former municipal officials seeking reimbursement for personal legal fees. The defendant was found guilty of driving while impaired, and the attorney has taken an appeal. Is he prevented from participating in the appeal because he also represents the township in litigation against it?
    In our Opinion 123, 91 N.J.L.J. 97 (1968), an attorney was engaged by a municipality solely to foreclose tax sale certificates. He inquired whether he could appear before any municipal body on behalf of private clients. We held that he was precluded from doing so while representing the municipality.
    We do not perceive that the result should be any different because the matter is now on appeal to the county court from the municipal court. We therefore conclude that it would be improper for the inquiring attorney to appear on behalf of the private client in this litigation.

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