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New Jersey legislation to block lawyer soliciation of clients

February 28, 2007

New Jersey lawmakers are proposing legislation that would outlaw lawyer’s letters soliciting clients who’ve received a traffic citation or been in a traffic accident.

State Sen. Joseph Vitale, who sponsored the bill, calls solicitation letters ‘ambulance chasing by another name. He and some consumers believe there are rights of privacy that should prevent lawyers and their marketing companies from getting access to names and addresses on police records. But Hackensack attorney Ronald Brandmayr says “There is no such thing as a right of privacy in public records”

New Jersey Attorneys believe the issue was put to rest a long time ago when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Kentucky regulation that prohibited lawyers from soliciting by mail. ‘Lawyer advertising is in the category of constitutionally protected commercial speech,’ the justices wrote in the 1988 opinion. They ruled that states may prohibit false or misleading advertising but cannot impose a blanket ban on advertising by mail.

Though I am not a fan of these letters, my guess is if such legislation is passed, it will be struck down by the courts.

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