Section 7. Any corporation formed under the provisions of chapter one hundred and eighty, any corporation formed under general or special law for any of the purposes set forth in section four of chapter one hundred and eighty, or any labor organization is authorized to establish and operate a membership legal services plan. Only such corporations or labor organizations may be sponsors of membership legal services plans. Under a membership legal services plan sponsored by a corporation whose primary purpose is other than the establishment and operation of a membership legal services plan, legal services may be provided only to bona fide members of the corporation and the dependents of such members; and any such member may elect not to participate in such plan. A sponsor of a membership legal services plan may contract on behalf of its members with a participating attorney or participating attorneys, including, at the option of the sponsor, an attorney or attorneys chosen by a member or members, to provide covered legal services to such members and dependents.
A membership legal services plan shall not include any plan or legal services provided by a legal aid office or public defender office, a military legal assistance office, a lawyer referral service operated, sponsored or approved by a bar association representative of the general bar of the geographical area in which the association exists, or of any other nonprofit organization that recommends, furnishes or pays for legal services to its members or beneficiaries in a manner incidental and reasonably related to a primary purpose of such organization to promote a public interest, including, without limitation, defense of human and civil rights, elimination of prejudice and discrimination as to race, religion, sex and national origin, lessening neighborhood tensions, preservation of scenic beauty, combatting or preventing pollution, preservation of natural resources, protection of consumer interest, promotion of cultural, historical or other educational activities, and prevention of cruelty to animals.