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Legal Ethics Update: Legal Services May Now be Donated for Charitable Auctions

raffle_ticketsIn 1980, the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) Committee on Professional Ethics issued an opinion (Opinion 524) that concluded it was improper for a lawyer to donate legal services to a charity auction. New York has since adopted the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which prompted the Committee to reexamine and reverse that long-standing opinion.

Now, subject to certain disclosure requirements and limitations, a lawyer may donate his or her legal services to a charitable organization for auction as a fund-raising device. NYSBA Committee on Professional Ethics Opinion 971 (6/26/13), which can be viewed by clicking here, lays out the requirements and limitations.