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                                          94 N.J.L.J. 249
                                        April 8, 1971


Appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court


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 corporation. Id.

    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.

    As in many cases, questions concerning unauthorized practice overlap or involve also questions of the ethical conduct of a lawyer participating in the questioned practice. Ethics questions are beyond the jurisdiction of this Committee and no comment is directed to such questions.

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