In the Matter of the Petition of NEW YORK COUNTY LAWYERS ASSOCIATION, Respondent, v. Norman F. DACEY, et al., Appellants
21 N.Y.2d 694, 234 N.E.2d 459, 287 N.Y.S.2d 422
[*695] COUNSEL: Daniel M. Shientag, New York City, for petitioner respondent.
PRIOR HISTORY: New York County Lawyers Assn v. Dacey, 54 Misc.2d 564, 282 N.Y.S.2d 985 (N.Y.Sup. Jun. 28, 1967)
SUBSEQUENT HISTORY: Distinguished by: State Bar v. Cramer, 399 Mich. 116, 249 N.W.2d 1 (Mich. Dec. 30, 1976) (No. 11 Nov. Term 1975)
[***423] Proceeding was brought by New York County Lawyers Association against author of book entitled How to Avoid Probate!, and the publishers, distributors, and sellers of the book pursuant to the Judiciary Law, Consol.Laws, c. 30, s 750, subd. B, to punish them for contempt and for an injunction for the unlawful practice of law.
[*694] The Supreme Court, Special Term, New York County, 54 Misc.2d 564, 282 N.Y.S.2d 985, entered a judgment adjudging the author guilty of criminal contempt because of the allegedly unlawful practice of law, fining him, and granting an injunction against him and the publishers, distributors, and sellers of the book. The Appellate Division, 28 A.D.2d 161, 283 N.Y.S.2d 984, by a divided court, entered an order November 15, 1967 which affirmed the judgment as to the author and modified the judgment, on the law, as to the publishers, distributors, and sellers by limiting injunction granted against the publishers, distributors and sellers so as to restrain from the publication, distribution and sale in New York, and from advertising or soliciting purchases of the book in New York. Stevens, J., dissented, on ground that it could not be claimed that the publication of a legal text which purported to say what the law is amounts to legal practice, and that the mere fact that the principles or rules stated in the text may be accepted by a particular reader as a solution to his problem, does not affect the matter, and that the publication of a multitude of forms for all manner of legal situations is a commonplace activity and their use by the Bar and public is general, and that the conjoining of the text and the forms with advice as to how the forms should be filled out does not constitute the unlawful practice of law, and that the order appealed from should be vacated on the law and the petition should be dismissed. The author, publishers, distributors and sellers appealed to the Court of Appeals. [*695] Order reversed and the petition dismissed with costs on the dissenting opinion at the Appellate Division.
All concur, except SCILEPPI, J., who dissents and votes to affirm on the prevailing opinion at the Appellate Division.