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Since its inception, NYCLA has been at the forefront of most legal debates in the country. We have provided legal education for more than 40 years.
I am associated with a group now forming, known as Friends of the . . . Library in . . . . . . . in the vicinity of which I live during the summer. One of the aims of the group is to see what funds can be raised for the library, and particularly to get sufficient endowment from people who will make provisions in their wills for this purpose so that eventually the Board of Trustees of the Library will be independent of the City of . . . . . I have offered as my contribution to this cause to draw the will of any individual who will make provision for a legacy for the library, free of charge; obviously to encourage individuals to do so.
The attorney in his offer of free legal services is undoubtly actuated by the highest motives, but to be effective as an inducement to secure legacies for the library, his offer must necessarily receive publicity. Such publicity would violate Canon 27 of the Canons of Professional Ethics which in part provides that “it is unprofessional to solicit professional employment by solicitors, advertisements, through touters or by personal communications or interviews not warranted by personal relations”.
Furthermore, the attendant publicity would constitute a form of exploitation of the lawyer’s services for the benefit of the library in violation of Canon 35.
The proposed conduct is therefore disapproved.
Dated: October 23, 1956.