Would it be proper for certain of the partners in a law firm to establish a corporation for the purpose of giving a series of lectures on “Estate Planning for Laymen”, to deliver the lectures, for which an attendance fee would be charged, and to cause the series to he advertised to the general public?
It would be improper for lawyers to engage in the proposed activity.
EC 2-2 provides:
“The legal profession should assist laymen to recognize legal problems because such problems may not be self-revealing and often are not timely noticed. Therefore, lawyers acting under proper auspices should encourage and participate in educational and public relations programs concerning our legal system with particular reference to legal problems that frequently arise. Such educational programs should be motivated by a desire to benefit the public rather than to obtain publicity or employment for particular lawyers. Examples of permissible activities include preparation of institutional advertisements and professional articles for lay publications and participation in seminars, lectures, and civic programs. But a lawyer who participates in such activities should shun personal publicity.”
Inasmuch as these lawyers in effect would be operating under their own sponsorship, i.e., a corporation they would establish for their benefit, they would not be acting under the kind of auspices contemplated by the provisions of EC 2-2. Additionally, advertising the lectures to the general public would violate DR 2-101(B), which prohibits a lawyer from publicizing himself, his partner or associate as a lawyer except in certain instances therein enumerated and except as permitted by DR 2-103. See also DR 2-104(A)(4). The proposed lecture series does not fall within any of these exceptions.
For extended discussions of the participation by lawyers in legal education programs and the advertising of such programs, see N.Y. State 283 (1973); N.Y. City 873 (1969); N.Y. City 881 (1971); ABA Inf. 840 (1965).
November 18, 1974.