Link to original WordPerfect Document

                                             87 N.J.L.J. 285
                                            May 7, 1964


Appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court


Conflict of Interests
School Board Attorney

    The question raised involves the propriety of an attorney for a board of education elected under Chapter 7 (Title 18 of the Revised Statutes) in representing individual clients before the various boards of the municipality and in representing clients against the municipality in which the school district is located. Under the facts stated there appears to be no conflict. A board of education elected by the people under Chapter 7 is clearly autonomous and is not a part of the municipality in which it is located. It is a separate body and is a distinct entity from the municipal government. Neither has any right to interfere with the other. See Botkin v. Westwood, 52 N.J. Super 416 (App. Div. 1958).
    The conflict which is apparent when an attorney represents an agency or board appointed by a municipality and appears before another board or agency of the municipality on behalf of a private client or represents clients against the municipality itself has already been determined. See Canons of Professional Ethics, Canon 6 and this Committee's Opinions 4, 86 N.J.L.J. 367 (1963); 5, 86 N.J.L.J. 361 (1963); 18, 19 and 20 at 86 N.J.L.J. 734 (1963); and 24, 87 N.J.L.J. 19 (1964).

    This opinion should not be interpreted to rule out the possible conflicts that can arise as noted in Botkin v. Westwood, supra, but in the absence of any specific conflict there is no impropriety in an attorney participating in the type of litigation indicated in the facts set forth above.

* * *

This archive is a service of Rutgers University School of Law - Camden