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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.
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Connecticut Legal Ethics
7.1:100 Comparative Analysis of Connecticut Rule
Conn. Rule 7.1(2) and (3) are not contained in the Model Rule. Conn. Rule 7.1(2) states that a communication is misleading or false if it would be likely to create Ëan unjustified expectation about the results the lawyer can achieve, or states or implies that the lawyer can achieve results by means that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law.Ó Conn. Rule 7.1 (3) states that if a lawyer compares his services with another lawyerÁs services, without factual substantiation, the communication is misleading or false.
There is no direct counterpart in the Model Code to Conn.
7.1:200 Lawyer Advertising--In General
In Informal Opinion 88-3 (1988), the Committee opined that a firmÁs advertising literature which contained essentially factual information about legal rights is not in violation of Rule 7.1. The Committee cited Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350 (1977) for the proposition that certain lawyer advertising is protected commercial speech. Further, the information contained in the firmÁs literature aided the public in the process of making legal decisions and is protected under Bates.
In Haymond v. Statewide Grievance Committee, 247 Conn. 436, 723 A.2d 821 (1999), the court held that advertisements in the yellow pages and television commercials were in violation of Rule 7.1. In Haymond, the plaintiff-attorney placed advertisements for his law firm in the yellow pages for Springfield, Massachusetts. The advertisements contained a picture of the plaintiff, a description of how many attorneys worked for the firm, and a caption that read ËLicensed in Massachusetts and Connecticut.Ó The plaintiff also placed television advertisements in Massachusetts, containing the following statements: ËIÁm Attorney John Haymond.... The Law Offices of John Haymond works for you and keeps on working.... I am John Haymond and that is my promise.Ó The opinion noted that the plaintiff was not a member of the Massachusetts bar, but a member of the Connecticut and Pennsylvania bars. Further, only four attorneys were admitted to practice in Massachusetts, at the time the advertisement were placed. The court held that these advertisements were in violation of Rule 7.1(1).
In Caliendo v. Coassin, No. CV 940314356S, 1994 WL 613380 (Conn.Super. 1994), the court noted that Rules 7.5(a) and 7.1 Ëeffectively forbid the listing of inactive, silent or passive partners since Çlisting other lawyers on a letterhead implies that their skill and expertise are available for the lawyer to draw on in different cases.ÁÓ Caliendo, 1994 WL at **3 (quoting ABA/BNA Lawyers Manual on Professional Conduct 81:3004 (1993)).
Formal Opinion 22 opined that listing another law firm on the inquiring law firmÁs letterhead is in violation of Rules 7.1 and 7.5(a) and (d). The inquiring firm, a Connecticut law firm, was associated with a New York firm, wherein all Connecticut matters would be handled by the Connecticut firm and vice versa. There was no partnership or formal arrangement between the two firms. The Committee noted that the law firm could be listed on the letterhead, provided that a detailed explanation of the firmsÁ relationship was presented.
In Informal Opinion 95-23 (1995), the Committee noted that all communications about a lawyerÁs services are governed by Rule 7.1, including an attorneyÁs retainer agreement with his client. The retainer agreement contained the following provision: ËI understand that the attorney will be unable to continue to render services if this agreement for payment of compensation is breached at any stage of the legal proceedings.Ó The Opinion held that this provision was in violation of Rule 7.1(1) because it was a misstatement or incomplete statement of an attorneyÁs rights and remedies.
In Informal Opinion 01-03 (2001), the Committee opined that advertising regarding a lawyer referral service violated Rule 7.1(1). The advertisement stated that ËABC Lawyer Referral ServiceÓ provided ËA Free Public Service... ABC will conduct an in-depth interview on all potential cases, and if appropriate, refer you to one of the best lawyers in the state. Best of all, ABC provides this service at absolutely no charge to you.Ó The Committee found that ABC is a lawyer referral business that is run and owned by several Connecticut lawyers (ËABC lawyersÓ). ABC was formed as an LLC, a separate entity from the ABC LawyerÁs private practice. All referrals were made by the ABC Lawyers to a ËReferred Lawyer.Ó In some cases, the ABC lawyers sought a fee-splitting arrangement with the Referred Lawyer. The Committee opined that the advertisement violated Rule 7.1(1) because the advertisement did not disclose the fact that ABC is a Ëfor-profit business which exists to collect referral fees and will accept referral fees, when offered, by the Referred Lawyers.Ó Moreover, the Opinion noted that the advertisement could mislead the public to believe that ABC is a non-profit entity similar to the Hartford County Bar Association.
In Informal Opinion 88-9 (1988), the Committee held that a newsletter mailed by an out-of-state firm to non-clients in Connecticut violated Rule 7.1(1), absent a disclosure of the jurisdictional limits of the lawyers listed therein.
Informal Opinion 91-24 (1991) noted that an advertisement containing information that a lawyer is admitted to the U.S. District Court without identifying which district(s) may be misleading under Rule 7.1(1).
The Committee opined that the following phrases are violative of Rule 7.1(2): ËMaximum money, minimum time.Ó Informal Opinion 00-7; ËMy firm has been very successful in representing our clients.Ó Informal Opinion 97-39; ËJohn Jones, attorney for the highest jury award in the history of Hartford, Connecticut.Ó Informal Opinion 91-5; ËGet results. Get back on a bike before you-know it.Ó Informal Opinion 88-3; ËGet the results and respect you deserve.Ó Informal Opinion 88-3.
In Informal Opinion 94-18 (1994), the Committee opined that a firm newsletter containing specific results of cases, together with a disclaimer that results are not guaranteed, did not violate Rule 7.1(2). The Opinion, however, admonished the inquiring attorney that Ëcaution should be exercised and such disclosure has great potential for creating unjustified expectations as to the results the lawyer can achieve....Ó
In Informal Opinion 88-6 (1988), the Committee opined that a yellow page advertisement containing an illustration of a cartoon picture of a collision together with the phrase ËWe Will Investigate and Push Your ClaimsÓ does not violate Rule 7.1(2). The opinion noted that the advertisement is not in violation of Rule 7.1(2) because Ë(1) it does not promise the lawyer will win the case; and (2) a prospective client should be justified in expecting his or her lawyer to investigate as necessary and make a vigorous effort in support of his or her claims.Ó
Informal Opinion 94-23 (1994) held that an advertisement that states, in part, that Çbankruptcy will stop creditor harassment, lawsuits and wage garnishment, wipe out medical bills and credit card debtÓ violated Rule 7.1 because filing a petition in bankruptcy will not automatically result in these things.
Informal Opinion 91-10 (1991) opined that the statement Ëif I canÁt get you a green card or work permit, no one can,Ó violated Rule 7.1(3) because it Ëcompared the advertising lawyerÁs services with any other lawyerÁs services and because the author of the advertisement stated that he could not factually substantiate the truth of his statement.Ó
In Informal Opinion 01-07 (2001), the Committee opined that the use of the following phrase in a firmÁs advertising brochure, ËHave used various legal firms for our special circumstances. Attorney _________ seemed more knowledgeable about our matters,Ó violated Rule 7.1(3) unless the comparison could be factually substantiated.
7.2:100 Comparative Analysis of Connecticut Rule
Conn. Rule 7.2(g) and Model Rule 7.2(c) are similar regarding the requirement that advertisements must contain the name of at least one lawyer that is responsible for an advertisementÁs content. The differences between the Rules are largely semantic. Conn. Rule 7.2(g) mandates that Ë[a]ny advertisement or communication made pursuant to this RuleÓ whereas Model Rule 7.2(c) covers Ë[a]ny communication made pursuant to this rule.Ó Model Rule 7.2(c), however, requires that in addition to the lawyerÁs name, the office address must be provided. Additionally, Model Rule 7.2(c) permits the disclosure of either the lawyer or the Ëlaw firmÓ responsible for the content of the advertisement, whereas Conn. Rule 7.2(g) requires disclosure of the name of the responsible lawyer.
Conn. Rule 7.2 (h) does not have a counterpart in Model Rule 7.2. Conn. Rule 7.2(h) mandates that no lawyer shall Ëdirectly or indirectly pay all or part of the cost of an advertisement by a lawyer not in the same firm unless the advertisement discloses the name and address of the non-advertising lawyer, and whether the advertising lawyer may refer any case received through the advertisement to the non-advertising lawyer.Ó
Conn. Rule 7.2(i)
does not have a counterpart in Model Rule
There is no direct counterpart of Conn.
7.2:200 Permissible Forms of Lawyer Advertising
Formal Opinion 1 (Revised as Formal
Opinion 44) opined that it is permissible under
Informal Opinion 88-6 (1988) noted that Rule 7.2, unlike Model Code DR 2-102(A), does not require that advertisements regarding legal services be dignified. As the Comments to Rule 7.2 explain, questions regarding taste in advertising Ëare matters of speculation and subjective judgment.Ó
Informal Opinion 91-5 (1991) opined
Informal Opinion 92-27 (1997)
held that advertisements containing photographs of attorneys with their paralegals
are permissible under
7.2:300 Retaining Copy of Advertising Material
In Informal Opinion 90-2 (1990), the Committee noted that an attorney is required, pursuant to Rule 7.2(b), to retain a copy or recording of his advertisement for two years with a record of where and when in was used. (Note: under the current Rule 7.2(b) attorneys are required to keep these records for three years.)
7.2:400 Paying to Have Services Recommended
Schulman, the plaintiff
paid the defendant an $11,000 membership fee, whereby the defendant would purchase
advertising space on local television networks and would refer leads regarding
potential personal injury clients to the attorney. The defendant guaranteed
at least eight personal injury referrals a month, including following up with
potential clients to insure appointments were kept and directly connecting the
clients to the attorneyÁs office Ëlive.Ó The court held that this agreement
violated Rule 7.2(c) because the lawyer
was paying the defendant a sum Ësurely in excess of the cost of advertising
involved in exchange for the third partyÁs recommendations.Ó The court held
agreements with third parties referral services may be ethical under the Rules
so long as the third party plays a limited, ministerial role in connecting the
potential client with a lawyer. Informal Opinion 98-8
(1998) reiterates the holding in Schulman.
The Committee opined that an advertising agreement between an advertising company
and an attorney did not violate
Informal Opinion 90-14 (1990)
In Formal Opinion 5 (1988 Revision),
the Committee opined that
In Informal Opinion 97-12 (1997), the Committee noted that an interdisplinary team of a lawyer, mental health professional, and an accountant could provide divorce mediation in conformance with the Rules. In the context of advertising such a service, the Opinion noted that the professionals could share the expense of advertising. The attorney, however, must ensure that any payment to the non-lawyer is made for advertising, Ëspecifically earmarked as payment for advertising, and that these payments do not exceed the total expense of such advertising.Ó
In Informal Opinion 92-24 (1992), the Committee opined that under Rule 7.2(c), a lawyer may not compensate a client for referrals. In this case, the client referred new clients to his lawyer. In return, the client requested that the lawyer work for him on some matters on a pro bono basis; for a reduction or reimbursement of billing, for a contract to perform non-legal tasks on a referred matter, or a gift. The Opinion held that the requested items were in violation of Rule 7.2(c) because the attorney would be compensating his client for the referral of new clients.
In Informal Opinion 89-5 (1989), the Committee held that certain aspects of a legal referral plan, offered by a non-profit group, were unethical under the Rules. Pursuant to the plan, the Connecticut Motorcycle Riders Association (CMRA) would refer its members, injured in motorcycle accidents, to a participating attorney. The participating attorney would be compensated by a 23% contingency fee, paid from the clientÁs recovery, and CMRA would be paid a 5% fee for its services from the memberÁs recovery. The Committee opined that the fixed 5% fee to the CMRA violated Rule 7.2(c) because the fee was not solely payment for advertising by the lawyer, but also payment for recommending the lawyerÁs services. Additionally, the Committee held that payment to the CMRA for start-up costs of the plan would be in violation of Rule 7.2(c) as it was not for the cost of advertising permissible under Rule 7.2(c).
Informal Opinion 87-12 (1987) noted that the purpose of Rule 7.2(c) is Ëto prevent an attorney from compensating third parties (non-clients) to solicit business for the attorney, the proverbial Çrunner situationÁ.Ó
In Informal Opinion 94-7 (1994), the Committee opined that the use of an attorneyÁs name as sponsor of a charitable fund is ethical under Rule 7.2(i)(9). There may be issues, however, if the lawyer offers his legal services at a discounted rate to participants in the fund raiser contest under Rule 7.2(c).
7.2:500 Identification of a Responsible Lawyer
In Informal Opinion 92-9 (1992), the Committee noted that Rule 7.2 requires all advertising, Ëincluding that done through the radio or television, written or recorded, to contain the name of at least one lawyer responsible for its content.Ó
In Informal Opinion 88-9 (1998), the Committee opined that in order to comply with Rule 7.2, the attorney responsible for the advertisement must be clearly identified in the communication. In this case, several lawyers were mentioned in the advertisement, but it was not clear which attorney was responsible for the overall content of the letter. The Opinion noted, Ëin order to comply with Rule 7.2, the newsletter should specifically identify the lawyer or lawyers responsible for its content.Ó
7.3:100 Comparative Analysis of Connecticut Rule
Conn. Rule 7.3(a) and Model Rule 7.3(a) differ in the terms utilized to described which types of communication are prohibited. Under Conn. Rule 7.3(a), a lawyer is prohibited from initiating Ëpersonal or live telephone contact, including telemarketing contact...Ó Whereas, Model Rule 7.3(a) prohibits solicitation by the lawyer by use of Ëin-person, live telephone or real-time electronic contact.Ó Additionally, both Rules prohibit a lawyer from soliciting a person if there goal is to represent said person for compensation. The Model Rule provides that a lawyer shall not solicit Ëprofessional employment from a prospective client when a significant motive for the lawyerÁs doing so is the lawyerÁs pecuniary gain.Ó Conn. Rule 7.3(a) states, in part, that a lawyer may not initiate personal contact Ëwith a prospective client for the purpose of obtaining professional employment.Ó
Both Rules contain an exceptions to the rule against non-solicitation
described above. Both Rules contain an exception for persons who already have
a relationship with the soliciting attorney. In Connecticut, attorneys may contact
close friends, relatives, former clients or those person who the lawyer reasonably
believes is a client. Although the Model Rule is similar, it differs from Conn.
Both Rules contain provisions regarding situations where
contact is prohibited. Model Rule 7.3(b)
Conn. Rule 7.3(c)
and Model Rule 7.3 (c)
Conn. Rule 7.3(i) and Model Rule 7.3 (d) are identical. In general, the Rules provide, notwithstanding the prohibitions in subsection (a), lawyers may participate in pre-paid legal service plans that use in-person or telephone contact to solicit members from persons that are not known to need legal services.
The Model Code does not contain an analogous provision to Conn.
7.3:200 Prohibition of For-Profit In-Person Solicitation
In Cheverie v. Ashcraft & Gerel, 65 Conn.App. 425, 783 A.2d 474, (Conn.App. 2001), the court noted that Rule 7.3 Ëlimits attorneysÁ efforts to solicit legal business from nonclients.Ó
In Informal Opinion 91-18, the Committee opined that a lawyer violated Rule 7.3(a) by his conduct. Specifically, the lawyer learned of an accident through the media. Although the attorney had no previous connection with the accident victim or his family, the attorney obtained photographs of the accident and a copy of the police report. Armed with these materials, the attorney went to the hospital, where the accident victim was in intensive care, and convinced a relative of the accident victim that he could provide the best services. Thereafter, the relative signed an engagement letter. The Opinion held that the attorney violated Rule 7.3 because there was no relationship with the victim or his relative that would support in-person solicitation. Moreover, under the circumstances, the client was under a severe disability and unable to make choices about his selection of an attorney.
Informal Opinion 90-20 held that an attorney may permissibly contact a former client to recommend revisions to her will, notwithstanding the fact that the original will was not drafted by the attorney as long as the attorney complies with Rule 7.3. Informal Opinion 91-9 stands for a similar proposition, holding that a lawyer is under no obligation to notify a former client of a change in child support guidelines (the subject of his prior representation); however, solicitation of such a former client is not prohibited by Rule 7.3, provided all of the prescriptions of the Rule are followed.
In Informal Opinion 94-31, the Committee opined that a law firmÁs proposal to stamp or print its law firm name, address and telephone number on two places on a Connecticut Bar Association pamphlet (located near the CBA logo) would violate Rule 7.3(c). Specifically, the Opinion held that pursuant to Rule 7.3(c) Ëno reference shall be made in communication to the communication having any kind of approval from the Connecticut bar,Ó the law firm could not place its name on a pamphlet distributed by the CBA. But see, Informal Opinion 97-28 where the Committee held that lawyer advertising using CBA pamphlets on various areas of law was permissible under Rule 7.3. In that case, the law firm intended on sending the CBA pamphlets as well as other pamphlets as advertisements. The Opinion noted that it was the firmÁs obligation Ëto insure that the statements in [the firmÁs] advertising, coupled with the CBA pamphlets, are not misleading.Ó
Informal Opinion 97-39 held that the phrase ËTHIS IS A LEGAL ADVERTISEMENT FOR LEGAL SERVICESÓ contained in a written solicitation did not satisfy Rule 7.3(c)Ás requirements that the materials be labeled ËAdvertising MaterialsÓ and in red ink.
There appear to be no pertinent Connecticut court decisions or ethics opinions on this subject.
In Informal Opinion 00-25, the Committee opined that it is permissible for a lawyer to notify clients of his upcoming departure from his present employment. The Opinion noted that Rule 7.3(a) permits solicitation of a client if the lawyer reasonably believes that person to be his client. As the Opinion stated, Ë[b]ecause she has a present professional relationship with her current clients, a departing lawyer does not violate Model Rule 7.3(a) by notifying those clients that she is leaving for a new affiliation.Ó Informal Opinion 88-23 is in accord noting that there is not an ethical prohibition barring an attorney notifying former clients of his changed circumstances, as is Informal Opinion 97-14.
7.3:300 Regulation of Written and Recorded Solicitation
Informal Opinion 00-16 set forth the requirements for permissible solicitation of prospective clients, citing Rule 7.3(b) in toto.
Informal Opinion 96-15 noted that Rule 7.3(c does not apply to general announcements made to lawyers because they are not communications designed to solicit professional employment from a client in need of legal services. In this case, the inquiring law firm wished to send copies of a recent newspaper article regarding the firm and its business card to in-house counsel of various Connecticut corporations. The Opinion held that Rule 7.3 was inapplicable because the solicitations where directed to other attorneys; however, if directed to the president of the corporation, Rule 7.3 would apply.
7.3:400 Disclaimers for Written and Recorded Solicitation
In Informal Opinion 98-27, the Committee opined that a written solicitation to a prospective client violated Rule 7.3 on a number of grounds. First, although the letter contained the phrase ËLEGAL ADVERTISINGÓ in bold and capital type, it did not comply with Rule 7.3(c)Ás requirement that the letter is labeled ËAdvertising MaterialÓ in red ink on the first page of the communication and on the envelope. Second, the solicitation letter failed to comply with Rule 7.3(d)Ás requirement that Ëthe first sentence of any written communication concerning a specific matter shall be: ÇIf you have already retained a lawyer for this matter, please disregard this letter.ÁÓ
7.3:500 Solicitation by Prepaid and Group Legal Services Plans
In Informal Opinion 89-6, the Committee held that pre-paid legal service plans are permissible, provided that the attorney abides by all applicable Rules. The Opinion noted, in particular, the attorney must comply with the rules governing Ëthe exercise of independent professional judgment on behalf of the client, maintenance of client confidences, the avoidance of conflicts of interest, and the requirement that the attorney at all times practice competently, even with regard to the simple will and the no-cost initial office consultation....Ó
7.4:100 Comparative Analysis of Connecticut Rule
Model Rule 7.4
Both Rules contain identical language stating that Ë[a] lawyer may communicate the fact that the lawyer does or does not practice in particular fields of law.Ó In the Model Rule, this phrase is found in subsection (a), whereas it is the first sentence of Conn.
Model Rule 7.4 (d) is not contained in Conn.
Model Code 2-105(A) is somewhat similar to Conn.
Model Code 2-105(A)(2), however, contains an additional mandate requiring a lawyer who identifies the fields of law to use Ëdesignations and definitions authorized and approved by [the agency having jurisdiction of the subject matter under state law].Ó Model Code 2-105(A)(3)Ás analogue is found in Rule 7.4A. See discussion of Rule 7.4A. Model Code 2-105A does not contain Conn.Rule 7.4(2)Ás provision regarding admiralty lawyers.
7.4:200 Regulation of Claims of Certification and Specialization
In Informal Opinion 98-27 (1998), a Massachusetts law firm mailed a prospective client in Connecticut a solicitation letter stating its areas of concentration, including, ËWorkersÁ Compensation, Personal Injury cases such as Motor Vehicle Accidents, Motorcycle Accidents, Pedestrian Accidents, Slip and Falls, and Medical Malpractice.Ó The Committee opined that the solicitation letter violated, among other Rules, Rule 7.4. Rule 7.4 prohibits an attorney from expressly stating or implying that he is a specialist, unless certain conditions are met. First, an attorney may state that he is a specialist if he is admitted to practice patent law before the United States Patent and Trademark office or is engaged in admiralty law. Second, an attorney may state that he is a specialist provided he has satisfied the requirements of Rule 7.4A. In this case, neither condition was met. Further, the Opinion noted that stating that an attorney ËconcentratesÓ in a specific area of law is tantamount to stating that the attorney is a Ëspecialist.Ó Therefore, Rule 7.4's requirements must be met.
In Informal Opinion 97-17 (1997), the Committee held that the inquiring attorneyÁs proposed advertisement letter violated Rule 7.4. The letter described the attorneyÁs practice, stating in part, Ëan attorney with an emphasis in commercial and residential landlord/tenant law.Ó The Opinion ruled that this phrase violated Rule 7.4 because it implied that the lawyer was a specialist.. The Committee noted that terms and phrases that Ëhave a secondary meaning implying formal recognition as a specialistÓ are violative of Rule 7.4.
Informal Opinion 94-23 (1994) held statements that an attorneyÁs practice Ëis limited toÓ or is Ëconcentrating inÓ a particular area of law violate Rule 7.4. The Opinion noted, however, that Rule 7.4 does not prohibit an attorney from communicating his or her area of practice, provided that this statement does not imply a specialization in this area of law.
In Informal Opinion 95-5 (1995), the inquiring attorney sought the CommitteeÁs advice on how to advertise his professional credentials, in particular, that he was a certified public accountant (CPA). The Committee noted that Ëthe phrasing of information concerning a lawyerÁs concurrent CPA qualification should conform to Rules 7.4 and 7.4A of the Rules of Professional Conduct, and should not be stated in a manner to imply that such non-legal certification or licensing implies any specialization or unusual skill in the practice of law.Ó
In Informal Opinion 93-20 (1993), the Committee opined that a firmÁs use of the phrase ËBusiness LawyersÓ on its letterhead, business cards and other advertisements is permitted under Rule 7.4, provided that Ëthe phrase is not accompanied by other language which would state or imply that the lawyers are specialists.Ó Similarly, Informal Opinion 91-24 held that an advertisement containing the lawyerÁs name followed by ËWills, Estate Planning and LitigationÓ is proper under Rule 7.4.
In Informal Opinion 92-18 (1992), the Committee opined that the designations: ËEsquire, Tax Attorney, Tax Counsel, In-House Tax Attorney and In-House Tax CounselÓ do not violate Rule 7.4. The Committee noted that ËTax AttorneyÓ on business cards is permissible under Rule 7.4 because Ëit is simply an implicit statement that one practices tax-related law and is not a statement of specialization.Ó
Certification As Specialist
There appears to be no applicable Model Rule to Conn.
Criteria for Certifying Agency or Board
See Conn. Rule 7.4A(a). There appear to be no pertinent Connecticut court decisions or ethics opinions on this subject.
Fields of Law for Certification of Specialists
See Conn. Rule 7.4A(d).
In Informal Opinion 93-9 (1993), the Committee noted that there is no Ëbright lineÓ rule regarding advertising practice areas that are not enumerated under Rule 7.4A. The Opinion referred to its Formal Opinion 39, wherein it held that under Rule 7.4 it is permissible for an attorney to simply lists his practice areas.
In Informal Opinion 89-12 (1989), the Committee held that while Ëan attorney could not hold him or herself out as a specialist in a field of law without certification under Rule 7.4A, he or she may, under Rule 7.4, communicate the fact that he or she does practice in particular fields of law.Ó
In Informal Opinion 95-5 (1995), the Committee admonished a lawyer, who was also a certified public accountant (CPA), Ëthat the phrasing of information concerning a lawyer's concurrent CPA qualification should conform to Rule 7.4, and should not be stated in a manner to imply that such non-legal certification or licensing implies any specialization or unusual skill in the practice of law.Ó
In Informal Opinion 98-27 (1998),
the Committee opined that an attorneyÁs solicitation letter to prospective clients
violated, among other Rules, Rule 7.4A.
The Opinion noted that a Massachusetts attorneyÁs representation that he had
areas of concentration in a number of legal fields, without proper certification
as a specialist, as required by Rule 7.4A, was not permitted.
Legal Specialization Screening Committee
See Conn. Rule 7.4B.
There appears to be no counterpart to Conn. Rule 7.4B in the Model Rules. See
Appointment of Legal Specialization Screening Committee
See Conn. Rule 7.4B(a). There appear to be no pertinent Connecticut court decisions or ethics opinions on this subject.
Term of Committee
See Conn. Rule 7.4B(b). There appear to be no pertinent Connecticut court decisions or ethics opinions on this subject.
Power and duty of Committee
See Conn. Rule 7.4B(c).
There appear to be no pertinent Connecticut court decisions or ethics opinions on this subject.
Application by Board or Entity to Certify Lawyers As Specialists
See Conn. Rule 7.4C.
There appears to be no counterpart to Conn.
See Conn. Rule 7.4C. There appear to be no pertinent Connecticut court decisions or ethics opinions on this subject.
7.5:100 Comparative Analysis of Connecticut Rule
The Model Code is substantially similar, however, the Code expands on the issue in DR2-102(A), prohibited a lawyer or law firm from using or participating in the use of professional cards, announcements, office signs, letterheads, or other notices and devices unless they were "in dignified form" and conformed to specific requirements set out for each type of notice under DR 2-102(A)(1) to (4). DR 2-102(B) prohibited a lawyer in private practice to practice under a trade name, or a firm name containing names other than those of one or more of the lawyers in the firm, and it dealt with the use of those individuals who are deceased, retired or of the predecessor firm in a continuing line of succession.
DR 2-102(D) of the Code is similar to paragraph (b) of the Rule in that it permitted a firm with multi-jurisdiction to use the same name in each jurisdiction where it had offices providing that the firm discloses on its letterhead those members who are not licensed to practice in the particular jurisdictions where the office is located.
DR 2-102(B) of the Code is more expansive in its requirements contained in paragraph (c) of
Paragraph (d) of the Rule is identical to DR 2-102(C) of the Code.
7.5:200 Firm Names and Trade Names
In Caliendo v. Coassin, No. CV 94 0314956S, 1994 WL 613380 (Conn.Super. Oct. 25, 1994), the court noted that Rule 7.5(a) forbids the Ëlisting of inactive, silent or passive partnersÓ in the firm name and letterhead.
In Informal Opinion 95-22 (1995), the Committee opined that the law firm name Ë______ County Legal ServicesÓ is prohibited by Rules 7.1(1) and 7.5(a). The Opinion explained that geographically descriptive trade names may mislead the public. The Committee recommended that an appropriate disclaimer may be necessary in order to inform consumers that the law firm is not a publicly sponsored legal aid office and is not connected with a particular county.
In Informal Opinion 88-13 (1998), the Committee opined that the designation Ëof counsel,Ó for an attorney who was neither an associate nor a partner with a firm, but had an ongoing employment relationship with the firm, was not misleading or violative of Rule 7.5(a). The term Ëof counselÓ informed the public that the attorney is not Ëa member of the firm, but only is associated with the firm in some limited capacity.Ó
Informal Opinion 87-16 (1987) held that a law firmÁs trade name may contain the name of deceased partners, but the names of such partners must be removed from the list of attorneys practicing on the firmÁs letterhead pursuant to Rule 7.5.
In Informal Opinion 99-31 (1999), the Committee opined that the use of the term ËaffiliatedÓ is permissible under Rule 7.5, provided the designation is not false or misleading under Rule 7.1(1). In this case, the inquiring firm had an on-going affiliation with a sole practitioner, who provided Ëback-upÓ to the firm as needed. The Committee held that the firm could list the sole practitioner as Ëaffiliated with the firm,Ó provided that the relationship between the parties was Ëclose, and regular, continuing and semi-permanent.Ó
In Informal Opinion 99-37 (1999), the Committee opined that the use of a deceased partnerÁs name in the firm title was violative of Rule 7.5. In this case, the majority of the firmÁs principals dissolved the law firm corporation, following the death of one of the principals. Two new firms were established and both sought to use the deceased partnerÁs name in the name of the law practice. The Opinion held that this violated Rules 7.1 and 7.5 because the use of the deceased attorneyÁs name could lead the public to believe that the newly formed firm was successor to the original firm.
7.5:300 Law Firms with Offices in More Than One Jurisdiction
In Informal Opinion 93-24 (1993), the Committee recommended certain steps that a Connecticut firm, which employed an out-of-state lawyer, not admitted to practice in the State of Connecticut, should take in order to be in compliance with Rule 7.5. Pursuant to Rule 7.5(b), the law firm must indicate on its letterhead and other material the out-of-state lawyerÁs jurisdictional limitation (i.e., that he is not licensed to practice in Connecticut).
7.5:400 Use of the Name of a Public Official
There appear to be no pertinent Connecticut court decisions or ethics opinions on this subject.
7.5:500 Misleading Designation as Partnership, etc.
In Statewide Grievance Committee v. Dey, No. CV 980063144S, 1998 WL 707804 (Conn. Super. Sept. 30, 1998), the court noted that Rule 7.5(d) prohibits attorneys, who share office space, but who are not partners, from denominating themselves as ËLawyer X and Lawyer Y.Ó The rationale behind this prohibition is that the title may tend to mislead the public that the lawyers are, in fact, partners.
In Formal Opinion 40, the Committee opined that the sharing of an office by non-partner attorneys violated Rule 7.5(d). In this case, two attorneys shared office space, including staff, office expenses, office stationery (containing the phrase ËLaw Offices of A & BÓ) and office staff answered the phone ËA and B.Ó The two lawyers, however, maintained separate accounts and practices (i.e., each filed individual appearances in court actions). The Committee held that the letterhead violated Rule 7.5(d) because it implied that the attorneys were partners in the practice. The Opinion noted that the stationery should be altered to reflect the true arrangement between the attorneys and that the phones should be answered ËLaw Offices.Ó Informal Opinion 97-9 is in accord.
In Informal Opinion 88-1 (1988), the Committee opined that a president of a corporation, who did not represent the entity in a legal capacity or practice law under the entity name, could not hold himself out as ËAttorney John Doe, PresidentÓ on the corporationÁs letterhead. The Opinion held such a designation, under the given facts, was violative of Rule 7.5(d) because it could be inferred that John Doe practiced law for the entity or under its trade name.
In Informal Opinion 95-14 (1995), the Committee held that an attorney, an employee of a corporation, may Ëutilize the corporationÁs stationery so long as the description of the attorneyÁs title and services appearing on the letterhead are accurate and not misleading.Ó