Relationships in the Law – Avoid Trouble Before It Finds You

Date: Feb 14, 2024 9:00 a.m. – 12:35 p.m.

Location: Online

Member Price: $167

Non-Member Price: $209

Event Code: I076324

Areas of Law: Ethics

Earn up to 4 credits, including 3.0 in Ethics and 1.0 in Diversity! (More Information)




Carol Johnston, Esq.
Supreme Court Clerk's Office
New Jersey Supreme Court Clerk’s Office in Trenton, New Jersey, joined the Administrative Office of the Courts in 2006 and serves as Secretary to the Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics, the Committee on Attorney Advertising and the Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law. She also answers the attorney ethics research assistance hotline.

Ms. Johnston formerly served as a Deputy Attorney General with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, Division of Law, for 15 years. She was Ethics Officer for the Department of Law and Public Safety and a member of the Prosecutor’s Code of Ethics Committee.

Ms. Johnston has lectured for ICLE, the American Law Institute-American Bar Association (ALI-ABA), the New Jersey State Bar Association, the New Jersey Judiciary, the National Association of Retail Collection Attorneys, and several county bar associations and American Inns of Court. In 2017 she was the recipient of ICLE’s Distinguished Service Award for Excellence in Continuing Legal Education.

Ms. Johnston is a graduate of Hamilton College and New York Law School. She clerked for Chief Justice Robert N. Wilentz.


Hon. Natalie S. Watson, J.S.C
Vice President, New Jersey Defense Association
Superior Court of New Jersey, Monmouth County
Barry J. Muller, Esq.
Fox Rothschild LLP, Lawrenceville

Relationships can lead to consequences, especially for lawyers.

We live in a world built on relationships both good and bad. From friends to colleagues, adversaries to judges, and clients to strangers or members of the general public, we form unique bonds based on the circumstances surrounding the relationships we have. While we usually communicate effortlessly without a great deal of thought, every interaction we have, every relationship we forge, and every communication we engage in is governed by the Rules of Professional Conduct. Each relationship matters to the RPC’s.

Don’t Get Caught by the Unexpected
This thought-provoking ethics program will provide the roadmap you need to successfully identify and navigate the “landmines” and other common issues that emerge surrounding relationships of all kinds. An expert panel will identify a few common relationship issues, including conflicts of interest, ex parte communication and romantic relationships with clients, as well as less obvious relationship issues like taking a business interest in a client’s company or establishing an attorney/client relationship when you thought you were only giving someone informal, friendly advice. You will also get advice concerning social media and how some seemingly benign relationships and posts can lead to big trouble.

This practical professionalism seminar is presented by seasoned attorneys with years of experience as professionals with the Office of Attorney Ethics, members of ethics committees and attorneys who defend lawyers accused of ethics violations. Register today!

Learn how to successfully navigate the complex situations that often arise in even the most common relationships. The seminar will include:

  • An overview of the rules and opinions related to relationships and the thought process behind them – what they intend to accomplish and whom they intend to protect.
  • The latest case law related to relationships and ethics.
  • Specific situations – obvious situations to avoid and to prevent yourself from unwittingly crossing the line.
  • The attorney/client relationship – how and when is it established and when does informal advice become legal advice? What are your obligations when that happens?
  • Ending a relationship – what the rules and cases say about ethically firing a client.
  • Answers to your questions.

CLE Credits
NJ CLE:NJ CLE information: This program has been approved by the Board on Continuing Legal Education of the Supreme Court of New Jersey for 4 hours of total CLE credit, including 3.0 in Ethics and 1.0 in Diversity (Full Credits Available: NJ Advanced Diversity: 1.0, NJ Ethics: 3.0).
NY CLE (t&nt):NY Diversity Non-Transitional: 1.0, NY Ethics Non-Transitional: 3.0
PA CLE:PA Ethics Credit: 3.0
New: No PACLE fee is required for this program. To earn PA CLE credits, a valid PA Bar ID number must be entered into the CLE form provided after attending the program.

Important Information About Our Events, Meetings, and More:
To secure your spot and receive important updates about our events, meetings, and other gatherings, such as schedule changes, remember to register in advance.

Cancellation and Refund Policy:
If you need to cancel your registration and are not transferring to another program or date, please submit a written request to us at least three business days before the event, meeting, or gathering. You will receive a refund minus a $20.00 cancellation fee. No refunds or registration changes will be issued within three business days of the event, meeting, or gathering.

Stay Informed:
Registered participants will be notified of any schedule changes. For updates regarding inclement weather, please check your email or visit

Media Consent:
By participating in our events, meetings, or other gatherings, you agree to be photographed and/or recorded. Additionally, all media content captured during these gatherings will become the property of NJSBA. This content, including your image and name, may be used in our future promotional materials without additional consent or compensation.

Scholarship & Financial Assistance Policy:
Read our Scholarship & Financial Assistance Policy and submit an Application here:



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