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The New Jersey Supreme Court ethics committee recently held that disclaimers for legal hotlines stating that a call does not form an attorney-client relationship are ineffective and that attorneys are responsible for following professional conduct rules during the limited time they are providing legal services on the phone. 

More and more frequently, individuals seek advice on matters ranging from personal injury caused by automobile accidents, dangerous products and workplace accidents to wrongful death.

In the opinion of the committee, discussions between attorneys and individuals seeking legal advice almost always lead to a discussion of the particular facts of the case and, accordingly, a non-profit trade association may not disclaim the formation of an attorney-client relationship, as it is likely that such a relationship will arise in the course of the provision of services by the attorneys staffing the legal hotline.

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