End-of-life notice: American Legal Ethics Library
As of March 1, 2013, the Legal Information Institute is no longer maintaining the information in the American Legal Ethics Library. It is no longer possible for us to maintain it at a level of completeness and accuracy given its staffing needs. It is very possible that we will revive it at a future time. At this point, it is in need of a complete technological renovation and reworking of the "correspondent firm" model which successfully sustained it for many years.
Many people have contributed time and effort to the project over the years, and we would like to thank them. In particular, Roger Cramton and Peter Martin not only conceived ALEL but gave much of their own labor to it. We are also grateful to Brad Wendel for his editorial contributions, to Brian Toohey and all at Jones Day for their efforts, and to all of our correspondents and contributors. Thank you.
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Connecticut Legal Ethics
1.4:100 Comparative Analysis of Connecticut Rule
Conn. Rule 1.4(a) and (b) are very similar to Model Rule 1.4(a) and (b). The Model Rule adds 1.4(a)(1)-(2), which requires a lawyer to inform the client of any decision or circumstance with respect to which the client's informed consent is required and also to Ëreasonably consult with the client about the means by which the client's objectives are to be accomplished.Ó The Model Rule also adds comments  and , which explain Rules 1.4(a)(1) - (2).
1.4:200 Duty to Communicate with Client
In Statewide Grievance Committee v. Friedland, 222 Conn. 131, 609 A.2d 645 (Conn. 1992), the Connecticut Supreme Court held that a lawyer violated Rule 1.4 where he failed to keep his clients informed about the status of their case, failed to keep appointments or otherwise reasonably communicate with his clients, and additionally, at times, did not maintain a working telephone number.
In Statewide Grievance Committee v. Timbers, 2000 WL 1198009 (Conn. Super. 2000), the court found that communication with a client, regarding attorneyÁs fees, is not excluded from Rule 1.4.
In Standish v. Stapelton, No. 394608, 2000 WL 1785049 (Conn. Super. Nov. 8, 2000), the court found that the communications that the client now claims should have been made would not have assisted her in achieving her objective, therefore it is not a violation of Rule 1.4. ËThe purpose of the duty of communication is to provide the client with Çsufficient information to participate intelligently in decisions concerning the objectives of the representations.ÁÓ Id. Also, where a client does not ËrequestÓ information, the lawyerÁs duty is limited to keeping the client Ëreasonably informed.Ó
In Statewide Grievance Committee v. Diorio, No. CV900276062, 1990 WL 264789 (Conn. Super. Nov. 30, 1990), the court held that a lawyer violates Rule 1.4(b) by failing to inform clients about the correct status of their case and to explain the consequences thereof to them so they could make informed decisions about their course of action.
1.4:300 Duty to Consult with Client
‰ Primary Connecticut References:
CT Rule 1.4(b)
‰ Background References: ABA Model Rule 1.4(b), Other Jurisdictions
‰ Commentary: ABA/BNA ã 31.501, ALI-LGL ãã 20, Wolfram ãã 4.5
‰ Connecticut Commentary:
In Statewide Grievance Committee v. Gifford, No. CV000800490, 2002 WL 237821 (Conn. Super Jan. 23, 2002), the court held that a lawyer who believes that his clientÁs case has no merit cannot unilaterally abandon the case without informing the client. The lawyerÁs failure to contact the client to inform her of his concerns about the case and to reach some type of agreement to end his representation is a violation of Rule 1.4.
1.4:400 Duty to Inform the Client of Settlement Offers
In Laviano v. Statewide Grievance Committee, No. CV990497413, 2000 WL 1196427 (Conn. Super. July 28, 2000), the court found that a lawyer violated Rule 1.4 by failing to notify a client for nearly six months of the other sideÁs rejection of a settlement offer.