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                                         101 N.J.L.J. 183
                                        February 23, 1978


Appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court


Conflict of Interest
Associate of Planning Board
Attorney Member of Board

    An associate of a law firm asks whether he may accept appointment to a planning board for which one of the partners is attorney, provided he disqualifies himself from discussion on the
appointment or payment for the services of the planning board attorney.
    In our Opinion 189, 93 N.J.L.J. 789 (1970), we set forth the governing principles that should guide attorneys in their relationships with governmental agencies. In Opinion 186, 93 N.J.L.J. 617 (1970), we held it improper for an attorney to represent a zoning board where his partner is a member of the governing body of the same municipality. We pointed out that disqualification of the board member does not resolve the issue. And see the reasoning in our Opinion 70, 88 N.J.L.J. 161 (1965). Here, where the partner of the firm is the attorney for the board to which his associate seeks an appointment, the impropriety is even more apparent. Our approval of the representation of a planning board by an attorney whose uncle was a member of that board, Opinion 136, 91 N.J.L.J. 749 (1968), is not in conflict, and does not control this inquiry.

    In a reverse situation, we held that an attorney may not accept the post of assistant county counsel to a public body on which his partner serves. Opinion 355, 99 N.J.L.J. 1017 (1976). Hence, the acceptance of the associate's appointment to the planning board would preclude the partner's further employment as planning board attorney.

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