Common Grievance Terms:
The Statewide Grievance Committee’s decision to close a grievance complaint file
without further review. Such a decision is made if the attorney resigns from the
bar and waives his right to apply for reinstatement, or the attorney is
deceased. It may also be used in certain other limited circumstances.
The suspension of an attorney’s license for not paying the client security fund
fee. The attorney is not allowed to practice law while under administrative
suspension. The administrative suspension is not considered discipline and the
attorney will be allowed to practice again when the overdue fee is paid.
Bypass: The agreement
between Disciplinary Counsel and an attorney to go directly to court because the
appropriate discipline they have agreed to, or which they believe may be
imposed, cannot be ordered by the Statewide Grievance Committee. The parties
cannot bypass the Statewide Grievance Committee unless the attorney either
admits the alleged misconduct or acknowledge that there is clear and convincing
evidence to prove the alleged misconduct.
CLE: Continuing legal
education. A disciplinary order of the Statewide Grievance Committee under
Connecticut Practice Book section 2-37(a)(5). CLE can also be ordered by the
disciplinary order of the Statewide Grievance Committee that an attorney fulfill
a condition within a certain timeframe. Connecticut Practice Book section 2-37.
The Statewide Grievance Committee may order an attorney to take continuing legal
education courses, pay restitution, take part in fee arbitration, pay an
assessment of costs, return a client’s file, submit to audits by the Committee,
or get medical, psychological, or substance abuse treatment. The Statewide
Grievance Committee can reprimand an attorney for ethical misconduct in addition
to imposing the above conditions. If the attorney does not fulfill a condition
in a timely manner, the attorney may be brought before the Superior Court for a
presentment hearing. The Superior Court may also impose any condition necessary
to protect the public.
CSF Suspension: Before
2006, the suspension of an attorney by the Superior Court for not paying the
annual client security fund fee.
indefinite taking away of an attorney’s license after the Superior Court has
decided that the attorney engaged in serious ethical misconduct. Although it is
not permanent and the court can allow a lawyer to practice again at some time
after the disbarment, an attorney will only be allowed to practice again if the
attorney can prove to the court that his or her character has been reformed so
that he or she is fit to practice law. The attorney can only get his or her
license back under the procedures set out in section 2-53 of the Connecticut
Practice Book. If the court finds that an attorney has knowingly misused
clients’ funds or other funds held in trust, it must disbar the lawyer and the
lawyer cannot be allowed to practice again for at least 12 years.
Fee Arbitration: A
disciplinary order of the Statewide Grievance Committee, in which the
complainant and the attorney submit to binding arbitration regarding the costs
of an attorney’s legal services. Connecticut Practice Book section 2-37(a)(6).
Fee arbitration can also be ordered by the Superior Court.
Inactive Due to Disability:
The Superior Court’s decision not to allow an attorney to practice law because
the attorney has been found to be disabled because of illness or a mental
infirmity or because of drug dependency or alcohol addiction. Grievance
proceedings, if there are any, are put on hold when an attorney is inactive due
to a disability.
Interim Suspension: The
suspension of an attorney’s license while a complaint against an attorney is
being investigated, ordered by the Superior Court, after a finding that the
attorney poses a substantial threat of irreparable harm to his or her clients or
Presentment: An order
from the Statewide Grievance Committee to the Disciplinary Counsel to file a
complaint against the attorney in the Superior Court. The Court then holds a
hearing to decide if the attorney should be disciplined or if the complaint
should be dismissed. The Court can order any discipline it decides is
appropriate to protect the public, including suspension and disbarment.
Reciprocal Discipline: An
order by the Superior Court based upon discipline imposed on an attorney in
another jurisdiction. When an attorney holds a license to practice law in more
than one jurisdiction and the other jurisdiction has disciplined the attorney,
the Court is authorized to impose similar (“commensurate”) discipline on the
When an attorney who has not been allowed to practice law due to discipline,
failure to pay the client security fund fee or retirement is allowed to practice
Reprimand: A disciplinary
order of the Statewide Grievance Committee after it has found that an attorney
has engaged in ethical misconduct. Connecticut Practice Book section 2-37(a)(1).
A reprimand can also be ordered by the Superior Court. If an attorney receives
more than 3 reprimands in 5 years, a presentment must be filed against the
attorney so the Superior Court can decide if more serious discipline should be
voluntary decision by an attorney who is the subject of a disciplinary
investigation to stop practicing law. If the attorney waives his or her right to
apply for reinstatement as part of the resignation, he or she will never be able
to practice law in Connecticut again.
A disciplinary order of the Statewide Grievance Committee to an attorney to
return funds or other property to a client or third person. Connecticut Practice
Book section 2-37(a)(2). Restitution can also be ordered by the Superior Court.
Retirement: A voluntary
decision by an attorney to stop practicing law because the attorney does not
want to practice law in Connecticut any longer. Connecticut Practice Book
section 2-55. The attorney may come out of retirement at any time; retirement is
Suspension: The taking
away of an attorney’s license for a set period of time as discipline for ethical
misconduct. Usually, if an attorney’s license is suspended for 1 year or more,
the attorney must apply to the Superior Court to be allowed to practice again
under the procedures set out in Section 2-53 of the Connecticut Practice Book.