New York Judiciary Law Section 488 - Buying demands on which to bring an action.

488. Buying demands on which to bring an action. An attorney or counselor shall not:

1. Directly or indirectly, buy, take an assignment of or be in any manner interested in buying or taking an assignment of a bond, promissory note, bill of exchange, book debt, or other thing in action, with the intent and for the purpose of bringing an action thereon.

2. By himself or herself, or by or in the name of another person, either before or after action brought, promise or give, or procure to be promised or given, a valuable consideration to any person, as an inducement to placing, or in consideration of having placed, in his or her hands, or in the hands of another person, a demand of any kind, for the purpose of bringing an action thereon, or of representing the claimant in the pursuit of any civil remedy for the recovery thereof. But this subdivision does not apply to:

a. an agreement between attorneys and counselors, or either, to divide between themselves the compensation to be received;

b. a lawyer representing an indigent or pro bono client paying court costs and expenses of litigation on behalf of the client;

c. a lawyer advancing court costs and expenses of litigation, the repayment of which may be contingent on the outcome of the matter; or

d. a lawyer, in an action in which an attorney's fee is payable in whole or in part as a percentage of the recovery in the action, paying on the lawyer's own account court costs and expenses of litigation. In such case, the fee paid to the attorney from the proceeds of the action may include an amount equal to such costs and expenses incurred.

3. A lawyer that offers services as described in paragraphs b, c and d of subdivision two of this section shall not, either directly or through any media used to advertise or otherwise publicize the lawyer's services, promise or advertise his or her ability to advance or pay costs and expenses of litigation in such manner as to state or imply that such ability is unique or extraordinary when such is not the case.

4. An attorney or counselor who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Last modified: February 3, 2019