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NYC Conflicts of Interest Board

How to Get Legal Advice

All of New York City's public servants are bound to comply with the standards of conduct enumerated in Chapter 68 of the City Charter, the City's Conflicts of Interest Law. COIB's Legal Advice Unit was established to answer any questions you might have regarding these standards.

One phone call is often all that it takes to get an opinion. When you call, simply say: "I might have a conflict of interest, could I speak with an attorney?" Immediately (and anonymously, if you like) you will be put in touch with a staff attorney. If your situation is typical, your situation may be resolved there and then, but sometimes you may be required to provide information in writing. You may also request a written opinion for your files, even when one is not required.

Some situations are not typical and require deliberation by the Board. If your case is not typical, you will be asked to "put it in writing" and you will, in turn, receive a written response.

When writing to the Board, you should include the following information:

  • who you are;
  • where you work;
  • your City title, your responsibilities;
  • a detailed description of the situation about which you have a question;
  • your telephone number;
  • your mailing address (home or office - your choice).

The type of written reply you receive will depend on the type and novelty of the question you pose. A Staff Letter responds to your written request about the legality or propriety of an activity for which there is precedent. A formal Advisory Opinion expresses the view of the Board on new questions or novel issues and is intended to provide sound and helpful advice regarding unprecedented situations. A letter from the Board will tell you about the legality or illegality of your proposed activity. The Board may offer you "further advice," warning you of other, possibly relevant rules and regulations.

Call (212) 442-1400 during business hours and ask to speak to the Attorney of the Day. You may also email the Board directly.

Legal Advice Links
Below you will find a series of links to materials that may be of use in understanding Chapter 68. Our "Leaflets" page contains general discussions of various topics and a plain language version of the Law. Our "Law" and "Guides for Lawyers" pages contain the full text of the law and more in-depth discussions. 

●  Legal Analysis--An Extensive Legal Guide to Chapter 68
●  Plain Language Analysis--An Extensive Layperson's Guide to Chapter 68
●  The Law--Chapter 68 of the City Charter, The Rules of Board, and Financial Disclosure Law
●  Legislative History of Chapter 68
●  Link to Searchable Database of Board Advisory Opinions and Enforcement Dispositions

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