94 N.J.L.J. 249
April 8, 1971
Legal Advice via Newspaper and Radio
The Committee has been requested to give an advisory opinion concerning the giving of legal advice through a newspaper column or through a regular radio program in response to questions submitted by individuals.
It is the opinion of the Committee that such conduct constitutes the practice of law. Rosenthal v. Shepard Broadcasting Service, 299 Mass. 286, 12 N.E. 2d 819 (Mass. Sup. Judicial Court 1938).
Accordingly, if the advice is given by a non-lawyer, it would constitute the unauthorized practice of law.
Also, to the extent that the adviser is employed by a
corporation, such as the newspaper or radio station, it would
constitute the unauthorized practice of law by the
This opinion does not include the situation wherein someone writes or talks of legal problems generally. The vice of the posited question is that individuals submit their personal problems, and they are specifically answered by the columnist or the commentator. See Green v. Huntington Nat. Bank, 3 Ohio App. 2d 62, 209 N.E. 2d 228 (Court of Appeals Ohio, Franklin County, 1964).
Nor is the payment of a fee an essential element in the practice of law. Ibid.