Bar Examining Committee
Client Security Fund Committee
FAQs about Attorneys
Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers
Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel
Statewide Grievance Committee
Retaining a Lawyer |
To legally Practice Law in CT |
Complaining about a Lawyer | Client
Security Fund | General Questions
Retaining a Lawyer
- Why should I have a lawyer?
- How do I choose a lawyer?
- How do I locate a lawyer?
- How do I find an attorney juris number?
- Limited Scope Representation -
Frequently Asked Questions
To legally Practice Law in Connecticut
- How are people legally permitted to practice law in CT?
- What is the process for being admitted to the Connecticut bar?
- What is the Connecticut Bar Examining Committee?
- Can I get Bar Exam results?
- What are the employment and volunteer opportunities with the courts for lawyers?
Complaining about a Lawyer
- How do I complain about a lawyer?
- What are the rules of professional conduct?
- What happens after a complaint against a lawyer is filed?
- Where can I get more information about complaints against lawyers?
- Can I get a list of recent complaint decisions?
Client Security Fund
- What is the Client Security Fund?
- What is the Client Security Fund Fee?
- How does an attorney or firm file a change of address?
- How does an attorney retire from the practice of law?
- What are the procedures for filing certain civil matters with the Superior Court?
- How do I obtain an attorney photo
1. Why should I have a lawyer?
2. How do I choose a lawyer?
Lawyers are trained legal professionals who can explain
the laws to you; help you evaluate your options; negotiate or mediate
conflicts with other people; prepare letters, court forms or other legal
documents for you; and represent you in court. Many lawyers offer a free (or
minimal fee) initial consultation.
- Word of mouth. Talk to your friends or relatives about a lawyer they may have used and who
they can recommend.
- Call the local bar association lawyer referral program for your area, listed below. The
programs charge a fee for a referral.
|Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, Tolland and Windham Counties
|New Haven County
|New London County
If you have a low income and you have been arrested, you may qualify for an attorney through
the public defender's office. Apply at the public defender's office, located in each courthouse
handling criminal cases, on your first court date.
- If you have a low income and have a civil case (for example, divorce, landlord/tenant,
child support), call Statewide Legal Services at 1-800-453-3320
(860-344-0380 for the Middletown area) for a lawyer or referral to a
lawyer who may help you for free or for a reduced fee.
3. How do I locate a lawyer?
To find the address of an attorney admitted to practice law in
Connecticut, go to the
Look-up and enter the last name of the attorney whose address you wish
4. How do I find an attorney juris number?
To find the address or juris number of an
attorney admitted to practice law in Connecticut, go to the
page on our website and enter the last name of the attorney whose address or juris number you wish to
5. How are people legally permitted to practice law in Connecticut?
Legal Practice of Law in Connecticut:
The Superior Court regulates the practice of
law in Connecticut. There are three ways to
practice law legally in Connecticut. (They are more fully described in
the Connecticut Practice Book Sections 8 and following.)
For further information see the Connecticut Bar Examining Committee
8. Can I get Bar Exam results?
- Bar Admission;
- Connecticut recognition of attorney licensed to practice law in another state (Pro Hac Vice); and,
- Law student certification.
9. What are the employment and volunteer opportunities with the courts for lawyers?
How do I complain about a lawyer?
First, talk to your lawyer and try to resolve your complaint. You may also want to talk to one
of the other partners in the law firm.
If your complaint is about fees, you may want to use the Arbitration of Legal Fee Disputes
process set up by the Connecticut Bar Association. To receive a copy
of the Rules for Arbitration of Legal Fee Dispute and the necessary
forms, please contact:
Connecticut Bar Association
- (enter "fee arbitration" in the CBA Search Box).
30 Bank Street
P.O. Box 350
New Britain, CT 06050-0350
Telephone: (860) 223-4400, Fax: (860) 223-4488
- The court's Bar Grievance
Committee has authority to investigate serious complaints against
lawyers about misconduct or unethical behavior and to discipline
A complaint, or grievance, is started by completing and signing a complaint form and mailing it
Statewide Bar Counsel
287 Main Street, Suite 2, Second Floor
East Hartford, CT 06118-1885.
Complaint Form JD-GC-6
Attorney Grievance Procedures in Connecticut
- Complaint forms are also available at every Superior Court Clerk's Office. There is no charge
for filing a grievance complaint.
- Lawyers are regulated by the Superior Court. The standards governing the ethical behavior of
lawyers are called The Rules of Professional Conduct. They are printed in the Connecticut
Practice Book, which is available at any courthouse law library.
11. What are the rules of professional conduct?
12. What happens after a complaint against a lawyer is filed?
The procedure for disciplining lawyers is also in the
Practice Book, beginning with
Section 2-29. In addition, the Statewide Grievance Committee has adopted
its own rules of procedure
to supplement those found in the practice book.
The Rules of Professional Conduct in the Connecticut Practice Book
The Statewide Bar Counsel reviews your complaint
and either sends it to be investigated by a grievance panel or sends it
to the Statewide Grievance Committee with a recommendation that it be
dismissed for one of the reasons stated below.
Some reasons for
- only involves a fee dispute which is not clearly excessive or improper;
- no claim of misconduct;
- does not contain specific enough information on which to base an investigation;
- duplicates a complaint already considered and dismissed; or,
- involves personal behavior outside the practice of law.
Every Judicial District has a grievance panel made
up of one lay person and two attorneys who do not have offices in the
Judicial District. The panel decides whether there is "probable cause"
to believe that the lawyer is guilty of misconduct. The grievance panel
may hold a hearing on your complaint as part of their investigation. A
copy of the grievance panel's probable cause decision will be sent to
you within 120 days of the referral to the panel.
All determinations of a grievance panel finding
that there exists probable cause of misconduct are referred to the
Statewide Grievance Committee for further action. The committee conducts
a hearing open to the public on probable cause referrals. If the
complaint is filed on or after January 1, 2004, a disciplinary counsel
will present the case to the Committee at its hearing when probable
cause of misconduct is found. If a grievance panel determines that there
is no probable cause of misconduct, it will dismiss the complaint. Such
a dismissal is a final decision, subject to no further review, unless
there is an allegation in the complaint that the attorney committed a
crime, in which case a finding of no probable cause will be reviewed by
the Statewide Grievance Committee. The Statewide Grievance Committee is
a board of 21 members. At least seven of them are not lawyers. The
committee makes the final decision on the grievance or complaint.
13. Where can I get more information about
complaints about lawyers?
- Review the publication "Attorney Grievance Procedures
in Connecticut", available at every Superior Court
- Attorney Grievance Procedures in Connecticut
- Please note that the procedures governing the attorney grievance process were changed by the Judges
of the Superior Court effective January 1, 2004. Complaints filed
before January 1, 2004 are governed by the procedures that were in
effect prior to that date. Those procedures can be reviewed in the
following version of the
Attorney Grievance Procedures in
Connecticut - JD-GC-8 - PDF
- If you still have questions regarding the grievance process, please call or write to:
Statewide Bar Counsel
287 Main Street, Suite 2, Second Floor
East Hartford, CT 06118-1885
14. Can I get a list of recent complaint decisions?
- The Bar Counsel cannot advise you as to whether to file a complaint.
What is the Client Security Fund?
The Client Security Fund is a fund established by
the rules of the Connecticut Superior Court to provide reimbursement to
individuals who have lost money or property as a result of the dishonest
conduct of an attorney practicing law in the State of Connecticut, in
the course of the attorney-client relationship. The fund provides a
remedy for clients who are unable to obtain reimbursement for their loss
from any other source.
Where does money for the Client Security Fund come from?
The fund is financed by a fee collected
from each attorney admitted to practice law in the State of Connecticut,
as well as each judge, judge trial referee, state referee, family
support magistrate, family support referee and workers' compensation
Who administers the Client Security Fund?
The fund is administered by the Client
Security Fund Committee, which is comprised of fifteen members. Nine of
the members are attorneys, three are non-attorneys, and three serve
either as a judge, appellate court judge, supreme court justice, family
support magistrate, family support referee or workers' compensation
What types of losses are covered by the Client Security Fund?
The Client Security Fund Committee may
reimburse losses resulting from the dishonest conduct of a Connecticut
attorney who has died, been adjudged incapable, not competent or
mentally ill, been disbarred or suspended from the practice of law, been
placed on inactive status by a Connecticut court, resigned from the
Connecticut bar, or against whom a judgment has been obtained with
respect to the dishonest conduct. "Dishonest conduct" means wrongful
acts committed by an attorney, in an attorney-client relationship, in
the nature of theft or embezzlement of money or the wrongful taking of
money, property or other things of value. It does not include wrongful
acts committed in connection with the provision of investment services.
Furthermore, a loss ordinarily will not be covered by the fund if the
claim is presented more than four years after the loss was discovered or
should have been discovered or if the loss was suffered by a close
relative, business associate or partner of the attorney. In some cases,
the Client Security Fund Committee may require you to pursue other
remedies that you may have against the attorney who caused your loss
before considering your claim, such as filing a civil lawsuit against
the attorney or the attorney's estate.
How do I file a claim?
You may file a claim by completing and
returning a claim form, available from the office of the Client Security
Fund Committee, Second Floor, Suite One, 287 Main Street, East Hartford,
Connecticut, 06118-1885, telephone (860) 568-3450. The form should be
completed providing as much information as possible. The Client Security
Fund Committee may require additional information from you in addition
to the information provided in the form. Obtain a copy of form
- Application for Reimbursement - Client Security Fund
There is no application fee. You are not required to be represented by an attorney,
although you may have one represent you if you wish. Attorneys may not
charge a fee for assisting individuals with their claim unless the fee
is approved by the Client Security Fund Committee.
What is the claims process?
Each claim is reviewed to determine if it
is eligible for reimbursement. If the claim is not eligible for
reimbursement, you will be notified. Eligible claims are investigated,
and the Client Security Fund Committee determines, in its sole
discretion, the amount of reimbursement that will be allowed, if any,
and how payment will be made.
What happens if I am awarded payment on my claim?
In order for you to receive payment, the
Client Security Fund Committee will require you to sign documents
transferring your claim against the dishonest attorney to the Committee,
in order to allow the Client Security Fund Committee to attempt to
obtain reimbursement from that attorney for amounts paid to you. If the
Client Security Fund Committee reimburses you for all or any part of
your loss, you are also required to cooperate with the Committee to help
them obtain reimbursement from the attorney for the amounts that were
paid to you.
How long does the claims process take?
It depends upon the length of time that
is required to obtain enough information for the Client Security Fund
Committee to make a decision regarding your claim. However, you will
receive a written decision regarding the claim once it is made by the
Client Security Fund Committee.
How can I get more information or answers to questions?
Contact the office of the Client Security
Fund Committee at (860) 568-3450
or by email:
Please note that these answers to questions have been provided to you for informational
purposes only, and are not intended in any way to amend or supplement
the Superior Court rules or Committee regulations which govern the
Client Security Fund Committee. Reference may be had to the Connecticut
Practice Book, available at any Superior Court library for the official
text of the rules governing the activities of the Client Security Fund
Committee. View The Client Security Fund, Answers to Your Questions Brochure,
JDP-GC-16 - in PDF format.
16. What Is the Client Security Fund Fee?
Connecticut Practice Book Section 2-70
provides that an annual fee be assessed attorneys to fund a client
security fund. The purpose of the client security fund is to reimburse
clients who have been the victims of the "dishonest conduct" of an
attorney, as defined in Practice Book Section 2-69, and to provide
crisis intervention and referral assistance pursuant to Practice Book
Section 2-68A to attorneys admitted to the practice of law in this state
who suffer from alcohol or other substance abuse problems or gambling
problems, or who have behavioral health problems. Information about
crisis intervention and referral services provided to attorneys may be
found on the Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers
web page. Pursuant to Practice Book Section
2-70(a), the annual fee is $110.00. For answers to
questions about the client security fund fee, e-mail
or telephone (860) 568-3450.
Who must pay the fee?
The fee must be paid by each
attorney admitted to practice in Connecticut, and each judge, judge
trial referee, state referee, family support magistrate, family support
referee and workers compensation commissioner. See Practice Book Section
2-70 for more information.
Who is exempt from the fee?
17. How does an attorney or firm file a change of address
An attorney is not exempt
from the fee because he or she practices out of state, or because he or
she does not actively practice law. Only those attorneys who have
retired, resigned, who have served on active duty in the armed forces of
the United States for a period of more than six months during the
calendar year, or who have been disbarred, are exempt from payment of
the fee. Attorneys have "retired" only if they have complied with the
provisions of Practice Book Section 2-55 and Section 51-81b(g) of the
Connecticut General Statutes. (Attorney
Retirement Notice - Form JD-CL-68). A partial, fifty percent exemption is
available to attorneys who do not engage in the practice of law as an
occupation and have not earned and do not expect to earn more
than $450.00 in legal fees or other compensation for services involving
the practice of law during the calendar year. If being an attorney is a
factor in an individual's employment, such attorney is deemed engaged in
the practice of law as an occupation for purposes of the partial
exemption and does not qualify for the partial exemption.
Firm Change of Address:
Note: Submission of a change of
address to the Department of Revenue Services (in connection with the
Occupational Tax or otherwise) does not constitute the required
notice to the Connecticut Judicial Branch.
- Individual attorneys in a firm, complete form JD-GC-10
- Principal of firm, complete form JD-GC-10 for both self and firm. And complete form
18. How does an attorney retire from the practice of law?
Section 51-81b(g) provides, in part, that "the attorney shall file written notice of retirement with the clerk of
the superior court for the judicial district of Hartford...". The form
must be filed with the superior court clerk at the following address:
Clerk, Superior Court
Practice Book Section 2-55
provides, "Written notice of retirement from the practice of law,
pursuant to the provisions of General Statutes §51-81b, shall not
constitute removal from the bar or the roll of attorneys, but it shall
be noted on the roll of attorneys kept by the clerk in Hartford county
who shall notify the statewide bar counsel of such retirement. The
notice shall include the attorney's juris number and be filed in
triplicate with such clerk. Upon the filing of such notice, the attorney
shall no longer be eligible to practice law as an attorney admitted in
the state of Connecticut. Retirement may be revoked at any time upon
written notice to the clerk for Hartford County and the statewide bar
counsel. Disciplinary proceedings against an attorney shall not be
stayed or terminated on account of the attorney’s retirement from the
practice of law." A retirement form, viewable here in PDF format,
is available at any judicial district clerk's office or at the office of
the Client Security Fund Committee.
95 Washington Street
Hartford, CT 06106
How does an attorney resign from the practice of law?
For more information about resignation, see Practice Book Section 2-52.