New York State Bar Opinion 1062

Committee on Professional Ethics

Topic: Financing a law practice; crowdfunding websites

Digest of the Committee:

“A law firm may engage in certain types of crowdfunding but not others. Any form of fundraising that gives the investor an interest in a law firm or a share of its revenue would be prohibited. However, in some circumstances a law firm may give the funding source some kind of reward. For example, a law firm may send a funder non-confidential memoranda discussing legal issues (provided the law firm complies with any applicable advertising rules), or may agree that the law firm will provide pro bono legal services to certain charitable organizations, provided that the lawyer complies with Rule 1.1 regarding competence and the representation does not involve conflicts in violation of Rule 1.7 or Rule 1.9..

New York Rules of Professional Conduct: 1.1(b), 1.7, 1.9, 5.4(a) & (d), 7.1.

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