NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATIONCommittee on
Opinion #309 - 11/16/1973
Modified by 416
Topic: Group Legal Services
Digest: Legal services to members of organization under group plan
must be incidental and reasonably related to primary purposes of
Code: DR 2-103(D)(5)
May a law firm enter into an agreement with a college student
association for the rendition of legal services to the association and
to its members for a fixed annual fee to be paid by the association?
DR 2-103(0)(5) permits a lawyer to cooperate with the legal service
activities of non-profit organizations where the recommending,
furnishing or paying for such services to its members 'is incidental
and reasonably related to the primary purposes of such organization"
N.Y. State 297 (1973); N.Y. State 163 (1970).
A plan involving a college student association and its members would,
accordingly, not violate DR 2-103(D)(5), provided it is limited to legal
services incidental and reasonably related to the association's primary
purposes. The activities discussed in N.Y. State 163 (1970) were found
not to be incidental and reasonably related to a union's primary purpose
while other activities discussed in N.Y. State 297 (1973) were found to
be incidental and reasonably related to the union's primary purpose.
Because a college or university student association's primary purpose
is to be concerned with the student member's general welfare to the
extent that their activities are borne out of the fact of
their college or university attendance, such problems as those
involving landlord-tenant relationships, consumer affairs, domestic
relations, disputes with the university and traffic offenses may be
considered "incidental and reasonably related" to the association's
primary purpose. Examples of services which would not be "incidental and
reasonably related' would be those involving business ventures,
probate, estate planning and drafting of trust instruments.