History of the Connecticut Judicial Seal

BannerBanner

Case Look-up Courts Directories Educational Resources E-Services Juror Information Online Media Resource Center Opinions Opportunities Self-Help Frequently Asked Questions Home Attorneys Espanol menu
  

 

RULE 1. GENERAL REGULATIONS
A. The Statewide Grievance Committee (Committee) shall meet to consider complaints and other appropriate matters as often as the Committee deems necessary to properly and expeditiously discharge its duties.

B. Except as otherwise set forth in these rules the Committee must have at least a quorum present to act, and a quorum shall be eleven. The Committee shall act by a vote of a majority of those present and voting, provided that a minimum of six votes for a particular action is necessary for the Committee to act. Members present but not voting due to disqualification, abstention, silence or a refusal to vote, shall be counted for purposes of establishing a quorum, but not counted in calculating a majority of those present and voting.

C. All decisions of the Committee shall be in writing and mailed to the parties involved.

D. All matters received by the Committee shall be confidential except as otherwise provided by law.

E. It is the policy of the Committee to investigate all complaints filed against attorneys within its jurisdiction. A decision by a Complainant to withdraw a complaint after its filing shall not have the effect of terminating the complaint. The Committee shall carry out its function under the rules of the Superior Court regardless of a Complainant's decision to not pursue the matter.

F. Grievance complaints filed with the Committee must be submitted on form JD-GC-6 and must contain an original and six copies. Any attachments must be properly collated and attached to the original and each copy of the complaint. Grievance complaints and their attachments must not include personal identifying information as defined by Practice Book §4-7(a) or another person’s hospital, psychiatric or medical records.  The Complainant must redact the complaint and its attachments to remove any personal identifying information.  A Complainant who wants to file another person’s hospital, psychiatric or medical records must say in the complaint how the documents are relevant and will help prove the complaint. The proposed hospital, psychiatric or medical records accompanying the complaint must be submitted in a sealed envelope labeled “proposed hospital, psychiatric or medical records.”  If the complaint is forwarded to a grievance panel for investigation under Practice Book §2-32(a)(1), the grievance panel will review the statement and follow Rule 1(I) of the Grievance Panel Rules of Procedure. If the Complainant is Disciplinary Counsel, the Statewide Bar Counsel, the Committee or a reviewing committee thereof, or a grievance panel, then any records, including hospital, psychiatric or medical records as well as records containing personal identifying information may be included in the initial grievance complaint without an offer of proof. Materials that do not meet these requirements will be returned.

G. The Committee reserves the right, from time to time, to add to, subtract from or otherwise amend these rules of procedure.

 Top

RULE 1A. Filing Procedure; Electronic Filing 
A. Filing Procedure: Grievance complaints, and any document related to grievance complaints or unauthorized practice of law complaints pending before the Committee or a reviewing committee, including but not limited to requests, motions, objections, briefs, appeals, or any other document intended for placement in the file of any such matter, or any copies thereof, must be filed with or submitted to the Statewide Bar Counsel or an Assistant Bar Counsel. No grievance complaint, unauthorized practice of law complaint, or any document attached in support thereof, or any portion of the record as defined by Practice Book §2-32(i) may be filed with or submitted to the Statewide Bar Counsel or Assistant Bar Counsel by way of fax, email, or any other electronic means. Any such document so received will not be considered as being filed with the Committee or the Statewide Bar Counsel.

B. Electronic Filing: The following documents may be filed with the Statewide Bar Counsel’s Office by fax or email provided that an original of the filing and all necessary copies are mailed forthwith to the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office:

1. All materials prepared pursuant to Rule 7(B), (C), (D) and (F);

2. A response to an overdraft investigation by the Statewide Bar Counsel’s Office conducted pursuant to Practice Book §2-28(g) and Rule 9(B);

3. A proposed disposition prepared pursuant to Practice Book §2-82 and Rule 11;

4. A motion to dismiss prepared pursuant to Rule 11A;

5. A request for review of a reviewing committee final decision prepared pursuant to Practice Book §2-35(g);

6. A request for review of an attorney advertising advisory opinion prepared pursuant to Rule 14(I).

C. All materials filed with the Statewide Bar Counsel following a finding of probable cause shall contain a certification of proof of service as required in civil matters pursuant to Practice Book §10-14.

D. Notwithstanding the provisions of this rule, the Committee or a reviewing committee may allow for the electronic filing of any document.

E. Materials that do not comply with this rule shall be returned and not made a part of the record.

Top
 

RULE 2. REFERRAL OF COMPLAINTS
A.  Upon receipt of a grievance complaint, the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office shall review the complaint and determine whether a recommendation should be made to dismiss the complaint in accordance with Practice Book §2-32(a)(2) or whether the complaint should be forwarded to a grievance panel. 

1.  Complaints forwarded to a grievance panel:  If a complaint is forwarded to a grievance panel, it shall be forwarded to the grievance panel in the judicial district in which the Respondent maintains his or her principal office or residence.  If the Respondent does not maintain an address in this state, it shall be within the discretion of the Statewide Bar Counsel to determine to which grievance panel the complaint shall be forwarded.  The determination of good cause for the declination of a panel to investigate a complaint referred to said panel shall be made by the Statewide Bar Counsel.

2.  Recommendation that complaint be dismissed:  If the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office determines that a recommendation should be made to dismiss the complaint, the complaint, together with the basis for the recommendation, shall be forwarded to an attorney member and to a non-attorney member of the Committee for their review. The Committee members to whom complaints are forwarded shall be selected by the Chairperson of the Committee on a rotating basis. The complaint shall not be forwarded to an attorney member who maintains an office for the practice of law in the same judicial district as the Respondent.  If a recommendation to dismiss the complaint is adopted by the two Committee members, the Complainant and the Respondent shall be notified of the decision together with notification of the Complainant's right to appeal the dismissal. The Respondent shall also be provided with a copy of the complaint. For the purpose of complying with the time limitations imposed by Practice Book §2-32(a), if the deadline for action falls on a weekend or holiday, said deadline shall be deemed to be satisfied if the action is accomplished by the end of the first working day following the deadline.

3.  Appeal of dismissed complaints:  If the Complainant timely files an appeal of the dismissal, the appeal shall be assigned to a reviewing committee for a decision on the appeal. The reviewing committee shall be selected on a random, rotating basis. The appeal shall not be assigned to a reviewing committee in which an attorney maintains an office for the practice of law in the same judicial district as the Respondent. If the reviewing committee denies the appeal, the Complainant and the Respondent shall be notified.  If the Complainant files an appeal beyond the fourteen-day appeal period, the Statewide Bar Counsel shall return the appeal to the Complainant as untimely filed.

B.  Referral of Matters Submitted Pursuant to Practice Book §2-43: When any complaint, counterclaim, cross complaint, special defense or other pleading in a judicial or administrative proceeding alleges a lawyer's misuse of funds handled by the lawyer in his or her capacity as a lawyer or a fiduciary, and the person signing the pleading has mailed a copy thereof to the Statewide Bar Counsel; or, in any case where a lawyer's trust account, as defined in Practice Book §2-28(b), is garnished, or otherwise liened, and the party who sought the garnishment or lien has mailed a copy of the garnishee process or writ of attachment to the Statewide Bar Counsel, the Statewide Bar Counsel shall forward a copy of the pleading, garnishee process or writ of attachment to a grievance panel for the purpose of conducting an investigation into the matter pursuant to Practice Book §2-29(e)(1) and for the purpose of determining whether a complaint should be initiated pursuant to Practice Book §2-32(a). If the panel determines that a complaint should be filed, it shall do so in its name and in the name of the person who filed the pleading, garnishee process or writ of attachment with the Statewide Bar Counsel.

Top
 

RULE 3. DISCLOSURE OF REFERRAL OF COMPLAINT
A. Decisions regarding whether to disclose that a grievance complaint or any other matter has been referred to a grievance panel for investigation shall ordinarily be made at regularly scheduled meetings of the Committee.

B. In the event of extraordinary circumstances, such decision may be made by way of a telephone poll of the members of the Committee.

C. Decisions regarding whether to disclose that a grievance complaint or any other matter has been referred to a grievance panel for investigation shall be made when such disclosure is deemed by the Committee to be in the public interest.

Top 

RULE 4. EXTENSION OF TIME
A.  Grievance Panels - Probable Cause: Pursuant to Practice Book §2-32(j), a grievance panel may file a motion for extension of time, not to exceed thirty days, with the Committee which may delegate to its Chairperson or Vice-chairperson the authority to grant the motion only for good cause shown. Said motion shall be filed with the Statewide Bar Counsel who shall forthwith notify the Chairperson, or the Vice-chairperson if the Chairperson is unavailable, of the filing and for a decision on the motion. The Statewide Bar Counsel's Office or will notify the grievance panel of the decision.

B.  Reviewing Committees - Investigation and Final Decision:  Pursuant to Practice Book §2-35(e), a reviewing committee to which a grievance panel's determination has been referred for investigation and final decision may file a motion for extension of time, not to exceed thirty days with the Committee, which shall grant said motion only for good cause. Said motion shall be filed with the Statewide Bar Counsel who, upon its receipt, shall forward copies of same to the remaining members of the Committee. Said members shall respond to the Statewide Bar Counsel within seven days of the date of the mailing of the motion by the Statewide Bar Counsel, in writing, signifying their vote to deny the motion, or deny the motion and request that no final action on said motion be taken until a meeting of the Committee is convened in order that the motion may be discussed. If no vote to deny the motion or defer action on the motion is received prior to the expiration of the seven day period, the motion shall be considered granted and the Statewide Bar Counsel shall so notify the reviewing committee. Said motions may also be made and considered at meetings of the Committee.

Top 

RULE 5. INQUIRY INTO DELAY
A.  Grievance Panels:  Pursuant to Practice Book §2-32(j), the Committee shall, upon a grievance panel's not completing its action on a complaint within the time provided by the rule, inquire into the delay. Said inquiry shall be conducted by the Statewide Bar Counsel, whose findings shall be reported to the Committee which shall, at its next regularly scheduled meeting, order said grievance panel to act upon said complaint, refer the complaint to another grievance panel, or refer the complaint to a reviewing committee.

B.  Reviewing Committees:  Pursuant to Practice Book §2-35(e), the Committee shall, upon a reviewing committee's not completing its action on a complaint within the time provided by the rule, inquire into the delay. Said inquiry shall be conducted by the Statewide Bar Counsel whose findings shall be reported to the Committee, which shall, at its next regularly scheduled meeting, order the reviewing committee to complete its action, refer such complaint to another reviewing committee, refer such complaint to the same or a different grievance panel for further investigation and action, or determine another appropriate course of action.

Top 

RULE 6. REVIEWING COMMITTEES
A. The Statewide Bar Counsel shall, with the approval of the Committee, assign the members of the Committee to reviewing committees, each consisting of two attorney members and one non-attorney member. Said reviewing committees shall serve for six months. At the conclusion of each six month period, the membership of the reviewing committees shall rotate.

B. The referral of complaints to reviewing committees shall be done in such a manner so that no reviewing committee is routinely assigned complaints from a single judicial district.

C. If a grievance panel determines that probable cause exists that an attorney is guilty of misconduct, said case shall be assigned to a reviewing committee or the Committee for a hearing open to the public and other appropriate action.

D. If a grievance panel determines that no probable cause exists that an attorney is guilty of misconduct, but the complaint contains an allegation that the attorney committed a crime, said case shall be reviewed by a reviewing committee for appropriate action, or by the Committee if deemed appropriate.  Under no circumstances shall the Committee review the grievance panel's decision that a crime was not alleged in the complaint.

Top
 

RULE 7. HEARINGS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
A. Notice: In all matters in which a hearing open to the public is held, the Complainant, Disciplinary Counsel and the Respondent shall be sent written notice of the hearing by the Statewide Bar Counsel by first class mail. The notice shall include a statement of the time and place of the hearing and that the hearing shall be open to the public and on the record.

B. Continuances: Continuances may be granted only to Disciplinary Counsel or the Respondent in the discretion of the reviewing committee and only for good cause shown. Motions for continuances must be submitted on form JD-GC-17 and filed with the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office with a copy to all counsel and pro se parties of record no later than seven calendar days prior to the date of the hearing, absent exigent circumstances. A party requesting a continuance must indicate whether the opposing party consents to the request. Upon timely receipt of the motion for continuance, the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office shall forward it to a member of the reviewing committee who shall promptly rule on the motion. Notice of the decision on the motion shall thereafter be transmitted by the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office to Disciplinary Counsel, the Complainant and to the Respondent or counsel for the Respondent.

C. Motions: Motions filed with the Committee or a reviewing committee concerning the jurisdiction of the Committee or reviewing committee or any other matter to be considered by the hearing body must be filed with the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office no later than seven days in advance of the date upon which the complaint at issue is to be heard. An original and three copies of the motion must be filed with the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office. Such motions may only be filed by Disciplinary Counsel, the Respondent or the Respondent's counsel. The requirement that motions must be filed no later than seven days in advance of the hearing date may be waived in the discretion of the hearing body with respect to motions in which the jurisdiction of the hearing body is at issue.

D. Briefs: Briefs prepared for submission to a reviewing committee must be submitted to the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office no later than seven days in advance of the date upon which the complaint at issue is to be heard. An original and three copies of the brief must be filed with the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office. Such briefs may only be filed by Disciplinary Counsel, the Respondent or the Respondent's counsel. The requirement that briefs must be filed no later than seven days in advance of the hearing date may be waived in the discretion of the hearing body for good cause. The requirement that briefs must be provided to the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office no later than seven days in advance of the date upon which the complaint at issue is to be heard, set forth in the first sentence of this section, does not apply to post-hearing briefs ordered at the time of the hearing or for which the permission to file is granted to Disciplinary Counsel or the Respondent at the time of the hearing.

E. Evidentiary Submissions: Evidentiary submissions to the record after a finding of probable cause may only be made as exhibits to the record. Any proposed evidence received by the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office or the Committee after a finding of probable cause will be returned to the participants and not be made part of the record unless it is submitted in accordance with this section or at a reviewing committee hearing. Prior to the hearing, Disciplinary Counsel and the Respondent, or the Respondent’s counsel shall confer regarding proposed evidentiary submissions and witnesses reasonably expected to be called during their cases-in-chief. Evidentiary submissions that may be made full exhibits by agreement shall be marked by the Disciplinary Counsel and the Respondent respectively, with Disciplinary Counsel listing exhibits numerically and the Respondent alphabetically. Any exhibit proposed by a participant, but not agreed to, shall be marked for identification purposes only. At least seven days before the hearing, the participants shall: (1) exchange all exhibits, including those marked only for identification; and (2) file with the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office four copies of each submission with a list of witnesses the participant reasonably expects to call during the hearing. The requirements of this subsection may be waived in the discretion of the hearing body for good cause.

F. Additional Allegations of Misconduct Pursuant to Practice Book §2-35(d): Notwithstanding the provisions of section E of this rule, Disciplinary Counsel may attach supporting materials to any additional allegations of misconduct issued pursuant to Practice Book §2-35(d). The thirty day period to be heard provided for in Practice Book §2-35(f) shall be calculated from the date the additional allegations of misconduct are filed with the Statewide Bar Counsel’s Office. The Respondent may file a response with exhibits to any additional allegations of misconduct issued by Disciplinary Counsel. Any materials attached to the response are also exempt from the provisions of section E. The Respondent’s original response with any exhibits plus three copies must be filed with the Statewide Bar Counsel’s Office within fourteen days of the filing of the additional allegations of misconduct. Thereafter, no other materials regarding the additional allegations of misconduct or the response may be filed as of right, and must be submitted instead pursuant to section E of this rule.

G. Procedure at Hearings:

1. Any oral or documentary evidence may be received, but the Committee or reviewing committee shall exclude irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious evidence. At its discretion, the Committee or reviewing committee may exclude documentary evidence not submitted in accord with section E of this rule.

2. When a hearing will be expedited and the interests of the parties will not be prejudiced substantially, any part of the evidence may be received in written form.

3. Documentary evidence may be received in the form of copies or excerpts if the original is not readily available. Upon reasonable and timely requests, the parties may be given an opportunity to compare the copy with the original.

4. Disciplinary Counsel, the Respondent, or the Respondent’s counsel may conduct reasonable direct and cross-examinations of witnesses.

5. Hearings may only be electronically recorded by the official court reporter or official court recording monitor.

H. Witnesses: Unless the Committee or reviewing committee determines that a witness is necessary to the resolution of a complaint, it shall be the responsibility of Disciplinary Counsel or the Respondent by subpoena or otherwise to secure the presence of witnesses.

I. All determinations of a reviewing committee shall be by an absolute majority vote and two members shall constitute a quorum. In the event of a tie vote, a member of the Committee shall be designated to review the entire record of the complaint and cast the deciding vote.

Top

RULE 8. UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW COMPLAINTS
A.  In the course of investigating a complaint alleging the unauthorized practice of law, Disciplinary Counsel may request that the matter be heard by a reviewing committee.

B.  Prior to requesting a hearing, Disciplinary Counsel shall give the Respondent 30 days to file a written response to the complaint, which response shall be provided to the reviewing committee if a hearing is requested.

C.  If a complaint alleging the unauthorized practice of law is referred to a reviewing committee for a hearing, the hearing shall be open to the public and on the record.

D.  Following the hearing, the reviewing committee shall render a written final decision which will be sent to the parties.  In its final decision, the reviewing committee shall make a finding that the Respondent engaged in the unauthorized practice of law or did not engage in the unauthorized practice of law.

E.  Unauthorized Practice of Law Records.

1.  The existence of an unauthorized practice of law complaint shall not become public until the matter is scheduled for a hearing before a reviewing committee.

2.  The following unauthorized practice of law records shall be public:

(a).  For unauthorized practice of law complaints in which a public hearing was held, the entire record shall be public.

(b).  For unauthorized practice of law complaints filed prior to January 1, 2004 in which a public hearing was not held, the Committee's final disposition letter only.

3.  All unauthorized practice of law records pertaining to a Respondent shall be available to Disciplinary Counsel in any subsequent unauthorized practice of law investigation pertaining to the Respondent.

Top

RULE 9. OVERDRAFT NOTIFICATION
A.  Approval of Financial Institutions.

1.  Pursuant to Practice Book §2-28, attorney trust accounts must be maintained only in financial institutions approved by the Committee.

2.  A financial institution seeking approval by the Committee shall submit a form to the Statewide Bar Counsel by which it agrees to report to the Committee the fact that an instrument has been presented against an attorney trust account containing insufficient funds, irrespective of whether or not the instrument is honored. The Statewide Bar Counsel shall transmit the form to the Committee for its consideration within 45 days of receipt by the Statewide Bar Counsel. Forms shall be made available to financial institutions seeking approval upon request to the Statewide Bar Counsel.

3.  Approval of a financial institution shall be contingent upon the agreement of the financial institution to provide no less than 30 days notice of its decision to cancel its agreement with the Committee. Notice of the cancellation of an agreement by a financial institution with the Committee shall be submitted by the financial institution in writing to the Statewide Bar Counsel.

4.  The Committee may terminate the approved status of a financial institution upon the failure of the financial institution to report to the Statewide Bar Counsel within seven business days from the date of such presentation, any instrument presented against an attorney trust account containing insufficient funds, except that the financial institution shall not be required to report to the Committee the fact that an instrument has been presented against an attorney trust account containing insufficient funds if funds in an amount sufficient to cover the deficiency in the trust account are deposited within one business day of the presentation of the instrument. The report shall be substantially in the following format:

(a)  In the case of a dishonored instrument, the report shall be identical to the overdraft notice customarily forwarded to the depositor;

(b)  In the case of instruments that are presented against insufficient funds but which are honored, the report shall identify the financial institution, the attorney or law firm, the account number, the date of presentation for payment and the date paid, a copy of the instrument presented, as well as the amount of the overdraft created thereby.

5.  Upon information and belief that an approved financial institution has failed to comply with its agreement to report the presentation of an instrument against insufficient funds and to provide a copy of the instrument, the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office shall, in writing, request an explanation of the failure from the financial institution. The financial institution shall have ten days from the date of the letter of inquiry from the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office to provide an explanation. The Statewide Bar Counsel's Office shall forward the explanation of the financial institution, or notice of its failure to submit an explanation, to the Committee. After its review of the explanation or lack thereof, the Committee may direct the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office to (a) request a further explanation of the financial institution's actions, (b) accept the explanation of the financial institution, or (c) terminate the approved status of the financial institution. Upon the decision of the Committee to terminate the approved status of a financial institution, the Committee shall cause to have notice of the termination published in the Connecticut Law Journal.

B.  Review of Overdraft Notifications

1.  Upon receipt of a notice of the presentation of an instrument against insufficient funds, the Statewide Bar Counsel shall notify, in writing, the attorney or law firm in whose name the account is registered of the receipt of the overdraft notification. The attorney or law firm shall have ten days from the date of the letter of notification forwarded by the Statewide Bar Counsel to submit an explanation of the overdraft. Such explanation shall be supported by documentation reasonably sufficient to demonstrate the basis of the overdraft.

2.  Upon the failure of the attorney or law firm to submit an explanation of the overdraft, the Statewide Bar Counsel shall, on behalf of the Committee, initiate a grievance complaint and forward same to the appropriate grievance panel.

3.  The Statewide Bar Counsel's Office shall review all overdraft notification explanations submitted by lawyers and law firms and (a) if the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office determines that the overdraft was not a result of misconduct, close the file on the matter or (b) if the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office is not satisfied with the explanation, refer the matter to the Committee which shall review the matter in accordance with subsection 4 of this section.

4.  The Committee shall review all overdraft notification explanations referred by the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office in accordance with subsection 3 of this section submitted by lawyers and law firms and (a) if it determines that the overdraft was not a result of misconduct, close its file on the matter or (b) if it is not satisfied with the explanation, (i) refer the matter to a grievance panel for investigation, or the initiation of a complaint, or both, or (ii) instruct the Statewide Bar Counsel to initiate a grievance complaint. If the matter has been previously investigated by a grievance panel and the grievance panel chooses not to file a grievance complaint, the Committee may refer the matter to a reviewing committee for investigation or the initiation of a complaint, or both.

5.  If a grievance panel to which an overdraft notification matter has been referred pursuant to subsection 4 of this section determines that the initiation of a grievance complaint is not warranted, it shall file its determination, along with an explanation of its decision, with the Committee. If a grievance panel initiates a grievance complaint pursuant to subsection 4 of this section, said complaint shall be referred to a separate grievance panel for a determination of probable cause.

6.  Whenever a grievance complaint is initiated pursuant to this rule, a copy of said complaint shall be forwarded to the Disciplinary Counsel for a determination as to whether interim suspension should be sought pursuant to Practice Book §2-42.

C.  Overdraft Notification Records:  All records pertaining to overdraft notification files that result in a determination that no further action is warranted and the file is closed shall not be public.

Top 

RULE 10. CONDITIONAL ADMISSION TO THE BAR
A.  Attorneys admitted to the bar with conditions pursuant to Practice Book §2-11 shall have their compliance with the conditions of admission monitored by the Statewide Bar Counsel. Such attorneys shall report their compliance with their conditions in such a manner as required by the terms of their admission and as reasonably required by the Statewide Bar Counsel.

B.  At intervals of time consistent with the conditions of admission, the Statewide Bar Counsel shall cause to be issued an Attorney Registration form for the conditionally admitted attorney. The Statewide Bar Counsel shall forward the Attorney Registration form, together with a notice to the attorney of the terms of the attorney's compliance, to the address provided by the attorney on the attorney's last filed Attorney Registration form. The Statewide Bar Counsel shall establish a reasonable deadline by which the attorney shall return the completed Attorney Registration form, together with such other documentation of compliance as is required under the terms of the attorney's admission or is otherwise reasonably required by the Statewide Bar Counsel.

Top 

RULE 11. PROPOSED DISPOSITIONS
A.  In matters in which the Respondent has tendered a proposed disposition pursuant to Practice Book §2-82, Disciplinary Counsel shall so notify the Committee for those matters not involving suspension or disbarment and a hearing shall be scheduled before a reviewing committee.

B.  At or prior to the hearing, the parties shall submit to the reviewing committee the proposed disposition and the affidavit required by Practice Book §2-82(d).

C.  At the hearing, the reviewing committee may elicit testimony or other evidence on any relevant issues, may allow argument as to the disposition, and shall give the Complainant the opportunity to comment upon the matter pursuant to Practice Book §2-82(f).

D.  Following the conclusion of the hearing, the reviewing committee shall either accept or reject the proposed disposition.

1.  If rejected: the parties and Disciplinary Counsel shall be so notified; the original proposed disposition and the affidavit required by Practice Book §2-82(d) shall be returned to Disciplinary Counsel; a copy of the proposed disposition, the affidavit, the transcript of the hearing and any evidence therefrom shall be maintained in the non-public portion of the Committee’s file; and the matter shall be scheduled for a hearing before another reviewing committee in accordance with Practice Book §2-35.

2.  If a Practice Book §2-82(b) proposed disposition is accepted:  notice thereof shall be sent to Disciplinary Counsel and the parties; the imposition of discipline, if applicable, shall be made public; and the documentation from the file, including the transcript of the hearing, shall be made public pursuant to Practice Book §2-50.

3.  If a Practice Book §2-82(c) proposed disposition is accepted: the reviewing committee shall issue a decision dismissing the complaint, imposing sanctions and conditions pursuant to Practice Book §2-37 or directing Disciplinary Counsel to file a presentment.  If discipline is imposed, the Respondent may request review of the decision pursuant to Practice Book §2-35(g); and the documentation from the file, including the transcript of the hearing, shall be made public, pursuant to Practice Book §2-50.

E.  When a proposed disposition involving suspension or disbarment has been submitted to the court, Disciplinary Counsel shall so notify the Committee. At the conclusion of court proceedings, Disciplinary Counsel shall notify the Committee of the court’s decision in the matter.

F. In matters in which the Respondent has tendered a proposed disposition agreeing to a presentment pursuant to Practice Book §2-82(g), the reviewing committee shall either reject the proposed disposition or issue a decision ordering a presentment.

Top


RULE 11A. MOTION TO DISMISS BY DISCIPLINARY COUNSEL

A. Notwithstanding the provisions of Rule 7(C) of these rules, Disciplinary Counsel may file a motion to dismiss a grievance complaint after a finding of probable cause under the following circumstances:

  1. Disciplinary Counsel believes that he or she does not have evidence to meet the clear and convincing standard of proof required to prove the alleged rule violations; or
  2. The Respondent is exposed to discipline for the same conduct under Practice Book §§2-39, 2-40 or 2-41. Any motion granted under this subsection will be without prejudice to the Disciplinary Counsel filing a new grievance complaint or a presentment pursuant to Practice Book §§2-39, 2-40 or 2-41.

B. B. The motion to dismiss under this rule may only be filed by the Disciplinary Counsel. An original and three copies of the motion shall be filed with the Committee prior to or during the proceeding before a reviewing committee and a copy shall be forwarded by the Disciplinary Counsel to the Complainant, the Respondent and their counsel. The motion shall clearly explain the reasons for the requested dismissal.

C. The reviewing committee shall hear the motion on the record. At such hearing, the reviewing committee shall allow argument from the Disciplinary Counsel, the Respondent or Respondent’s counsel concerning the motion. The Complainant or Complainant’s counsel may make a statement in support of, or in opposition to the motion.

D. Following the hearing, the reviewing committee shall issue a written decision either granting or denying the motion.

  1. If the motion is granted, notice shall be sent to the Disciplinary Counsel, the participants and their counsel and the matter shall be dismissed.
  2. If the motion is denied, Disciplinary Counsel, the participants and their counsel shall be notified and the matter shall be scheduled for a hearing before a different reviewing committee.

Top

RULE 12. ATTORNEY REGISTRATION; ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION
A.  Each attorney shall register with the Committee, as required by Practice Book §§ 2-27(d) and 2-26. 
B.  Each attorney’s annual registration shall be made electronically through Judicial Branch E-Services. 

Top 

RULE 13.  RANDOM INSPECTIONS AND AUDITS OF CLIENTS' FUNDS ACCOUNTS
A.  Pursuant to Practice Book §2-27(e), the Committee or its counsel shall conduct random inspections and audits of clients’ funds accounts as defined in Practice Book §§2-27(d) and 2-28(b) and required to be registered with the Committee in accordance with Practice Book §2-27(d).

B.  For purposes of Practice Book §2-27(e) and this rule, “inspection and audit” is defined as the inspection of a randomly selected clients’ funds account to ensure compliance with ethical rules, including, but not limited to, Practice Book §2-27 and the Rules of Professional Conduct.

C.  The manner in which the Committee or its counsel shall randomly select, inspect and audit such accounts is by the following:

1. Commencing July 1, 2007, the Statewide Bar Counsel shall randomly select for inspection and audit, with such frequency as is determined by counsel, clients’ funds accounts registered with the Committee in accordance with Practice Book §2-27(d).

2. The Statewide Bar Counsel's Office shall send, by certified mail, written notice of the inspection and audit to the attorney(s) who has registered the selected clients’ funds account.

3. The random inspection and audit shall cover, at a minimum, the previous six months from the date of the notice of the inspection and audit and shall involve the inspection of the financial records for the selected clients’ funds account that are required to be maintained by the attorney(s) in accordance with Practice Book §2-27(b), including, but not limited to:

(a)  a receipt and disbursement journal identifying all deposits in and withdrawals from the account and showing the running account balance;

(b)  a separate accounting page or column for each client or third person for whom funds are held showing (A) all receipts and disbursements and (B) a running account balance;

(c)  at least quarterly a written reconciliation of trust account journals, client ledgers and bank statements;

(d)  a list identifying all trust accounts as defined in Practice Book §2-28 (b); and

(e)  all checkbooks, bank statements, and canceled or voided checks.

4.  The attorney(s) whose clients' funds account is the subject of the random inspection and audit and whose office is located in Connecticut will comply with the inspection and audit by undergoing an on-site inspection and audit by the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office of the financial records set forth in Practice Book §2-27(b) and subsection 3 of this section and any other records maintained by the attorney(s) for the selected account on the date set forth in the written notice. The Statewide Bar Counsel's Office may complete the inspection and audit of the selected account by removing copies of any records produced at an on-site inspection to the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office. If good cause is shown, the attorney(s) whose clients' funds account is the subject of the random inspection and audit and whose office is located in Connecticut may comply with the inspection and audit by providing a copy of the financial records set forth in Practice Book §2-27(b) and subsection 3 of this section and any other financial records maintained by the attorney(s) for the selected account by United States mail service, in person, or by some other delivery service to the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office by the date provided in the written notice.
 

5.  The attorney(s) whose clients' funds account is the subject of the random inspection and audit and whose office is located outside the State of Connecticut must comply with the inspection and audit by providing a copy of the financial records set forth in Practice Book §2-27(b) and subsection 3 of this section and any other financial records maintained by the attorney(s) for the selected account by United States mail service, in person, or by some other delivery serto the Statewide Bar Counsel’s Office by the date provided in the written notice.

D. Any copies produced pursuant to this rule shall be at the expense of the attorney(s) whose clients’ funds account is the subject of the inspection and audit.

E. The attorney(s) whose account is seleion and audit shall fully cooperate with the inspection and audit. “Fully cooperate” as that term is used in Practice Book §2-27(e) means, among other things, providing the Statewide Bar Counsel’s Office with all the documents referred to in this rule and any other records and information as may be necessary for the Statewide Bar Counsel’s Office to complete its inspection and audit. If the attorney(s) whose clients’ fund account is the subject of the inspection and audit fails to fully cooperate, the Statewide Bar Counsel’s Office shall, in its discretion, refer the matter to Disciplinary Counsel for an interim suspension proceeding pursuant to Practice Book §2-42.

F.   If the inspection and audit does not disclose an apparent violation of Practice Book §2-27 or the Rules of Professional Conduct, the Statewide Bar Counsel shall:

1.  Notify the attorney(s) that the inspection and audit did not disclose a violation of Practice Book §2-27 or the Rules of Professional Conduct; and

2.  Remove the selected clients’ funds account number from the random inspection and audit selection process for a period of one year from the date the file is closed.

G. If the inspection and audit discloses an apparent violation of Practice Book §2-27 or the Rules of Professional Conduct, the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office shall, in its discretion:

1.  Negotiate with the attorney(s) with the goal of having the attorney(s) bring the subject clients’ funds account into compliance with Practice Book §2-27 and the Rules of Professional Conduct, subject to the attorney(s) agreeing to reasonable, periodic subsequent inspections and audits of the clients’ funds account by the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office to ensure compliance; or

2.  Forward the file to a grievance panel for further investigation and the possible filing of a grievance complaint; or

3.  Forward the file to Disciplinary Counsel to initiate a presentment complaint.

H.  In any matter referred by the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office to a grievance panel or its counsel for investigation under this rule, said grievance panel shall complete its investigation within the same time frame as set forth for the investigation of grievance complaints under Practice Book §2-32(i).

I.  If a grievance panel to which the result of a random inspection and audit of a selected clients’ funds account has been forwarded for investigation and the possible filing of a grievance complaint determines that the initiation of a grievance complaint is not warranted, it shall file its written determination, along with an explanation of its decision, with the Committee.

J. If a grievance panel to which the result of a random inspection and audit of a selected clients’ funds account has been forwarded for investigation and the possible filing of a grievance complaint initiates a grievance complaint, the grievance panel shall file its complaint with the Committee and shall forward a copy of the complaint to Disciplinary Counsel for a determination as to whether interim suspension should be sought pursuant to Practice Book §2-42. The grievance complaint shall be referred to a separate grievance panel for a determination of probable cause.

K.  Prior to any public hearing arising from a random inspection and audit of a clients’ funds account, the Committee or its counsel shall give written notice by certified mail to any client or third person whose identity may be publicly disclosed through the disclosure of records obtained or produced in accordance with the random audit and inspection. A copy of any such written notice shall be provided to Disciplinary Counsel. Thereafter, the identified client or third person shall have thirty days from the date of the written notice to seek a court order restricting publication of any such records disclosing confidential information. The client or third person who applies for such a court order shall serve, by certified mail, a copy of the application on the Committee through its counsel and on Disciplinary Counsel.

Top


RULE 14. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING; MANDATORY FILING; ADVISORY OPINIONS

A.  Pursuant to Practice Book §2-28A, the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office shall conduct random reviews of legal advertisements and communications that are filed with the Committee in accordance with Practice Book §2-28A and this rule. Advertisements and communications shall be filed prior to or concurrently with their first dissemination and shall be subject to random review for a period of three months following their filing. 

B.  Unless an attorney requests and receives an exemption, and subject to the limitations set forth in this rule, all advertisements that must be filed with the Committee pursuant to Practice Book §2-28A shall be filed electronically through Judicial Branch E-Services. An attorney who requests and receives an exemption pursuant to section C of this rule, shall submit the advertisement to the Committee in hard copy format together with a cover form approved by the Committee. 

C.  No request for exemption will be considered unless the request is submitted on a form approved by the Committee prior to the first dissemination of the advertisement to be filed. The Committee delegates to the Statewide Bar Counsel the authority to approve or disapprove exemption requests. An exemption request shall be granted only for good cause shown. An exemption form that is not filed in a timely manner, that does not state a basis for requesting the exemption or is not signed by the attorney seeking the exemption shall be returned and not considered filed. If the Statewide Bar Counsel grants an exemption, a paper copy of the filing form will be provided to the exempted attorney.

D.  Any attorney filing a print advertisement that exceeds 20 MB, must submit the completed electronic filing form through E-Services, then file the advertisement itself in hard copy format with the Committee within 10 days of the date the attorney submits the electronic filing form through E-Services. The filed hard copy of the advertisement shall clearly indicate on it the file number assigned when the electronic filing form was submitted through E-Services. 

E.  Any attorney filing a television or radio advertisement must submit the completed electronic filing form through E-Services, then file the advertisement itself in hard copy format with the Committee within 10 days of the date the attorney submits the electronic filing form through E-Services. The filed hard copy of the advertisement shall clearly indicate on it the file number assigned when the electronic filing form was submitted through E-Services and shall be in the following formats only: 

1. Television advertisements: The advertisement must be submitted on a video DVD. 

2. Radio and other recorded non-video advertisements: The advertisement must be submitted on a CD in MP3 format. 

F. Advertisements filed pursuant to Practice Book §2-28A and this rule shall be subject to selection for review on a random basis for a period of 3 months following their filing. 

G.  The Statewide Bar Counsel's Office shall provide written notice to any attorney whose filed advertisement has been selected for review. If the review of the selected advertisement discloses an apparent violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct, the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office shall: 

1. Contact the attorney(s) in writing to negotiate with the attorney(s) with the goal of having the attorney(s) modify replace or remove the advertisement in order to make the advertisement comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct, subject to the attorney(s) agreeing to provide proof of such modification, replacement or removal to the Statewide Bar Counsel's Office in a timely manner; or 
 

2. If the attorney(s) fails or refuses to modify, replace, or remove the advertisement and thereafter disseminates the advertisement, or continues to disseminate the advertisement, notify the Committee for the Committee to determine whether the file should be forwarded to Disciplinary Counsel to initiate a presentment complaint. 

H.  Pursuant to Practice Book §2-28B, an attorney may request a written advisory opinion from the Statewide Grievance Committee concerning whether the attorney’s proposed advertisement complies with the Rules of Professional Conduct. The request must be submitted in writing and contain an original and four copies of the request and the material specified by Practice Book §2-28A. All attachments to the request must be properly collated and attached to the original and each copy of the request. The request shall be accompanied by a fee as established by the Chief Court Administrator. No request that fails to meet any of the requirements set forth in Practice Book §2-28B or this rule shall be considered filed with the Committee.  The Statewide Bar Counsel may assign the matter to a reviewing committee to issue the advisory opinion.

I.  Within thirty days of the issuance to the requesting attorney(s) of a written advisory opinion from a reviewing committee, the requesting attorney(s) may file with the Committee a request in writing for review of the opinion. Any request for review submitted under this rule must specify the basis for the request, including, but not limited to, a claim or claims that the reviewing committee’s findings, inferences, conclusions, or opinion is or are (1) in violation of constitutional law, rules of practice or statutory provisions; (2) in excess of the authority of the reviewing committee; (3) made upon unlawful procedure; (4) affected by other error of law; (5) clearly erroneous in view of the reliable, probative, and substantial evidence on the whole record; or (6) arbitrary or capricious or characterized by abuse of discretion and the specific basis for such claim or claims. Filing a request for review shall not stay the publication of the advisory opinion. If the opinion of the reviewing committee is reversed or modified by the Committee, the decision reversing or modifying the advisory opinion shall be published in a manner similar to the initial publication of the opinion. No request for review that fails to meet any of the requirements set forth in this rule shall be considered by the Committee.

Top



Grievance Panel Rules of Procedure

RULE 1. GENERAL REGULATIONS
A. Each Grievance Panel shall meet to consider complaints and other appropriate matters as often as the Panel deems necessary to properly and expeditiously discharge its duties.

B. All decisions of a Panel shall be by majority vote of those present and voting. Two members shall constitute a quorum. In the event of a tie vote, a Panel member or alternate shall be designated by the two voting members to review the entire record of the complaint and cast the deciding vote.

C. All decisions of a Panel shall be in writing and mailed to the Complainant and Respondent involved, and to Disciplinary Counsel if involved pursuant to Practice Book §2-29(f).

D. All matters received by a Panel shall be confidential except as otherwise provided by law.

E. Each Grievance Panel shall investigate all complaints against attorneys forwarded to it. A decision by a Complainant to withdraw a complaint after its filing shall not operate as a withdrawal of the complaint or terminate the grievance process. Each Grievance Panel shall discharge its functions under the rules of the Superior Court regardless of a Complainant's decision not to pursue the complaint.

F. A Grievance Panel shall not review for the purposes of determining whether there exists probable cause complaints initiated by it pursuant to Practice Book §§2-29(e)(1) and 2-32(a). Such complaints shall be forwarded for investigation and determination of probable cause pursuant to Practice Book §2-32(e)-(i) to a Grievance Panel other than the one initiating the complaint.

G. In accordance with Section 2-32(i) of the Connecticut Practice Book, the Respondent shall file an original and six copies of the written answer to the grievance complaint with counsel to the Grievance Panel.  Grievance Counsel shall thereafter forward a copy of the answer to the Complainant and to Disciplinary Counsel if involved under Section 2-29(f) of the Connecticut Practice Book. 

H. Except for materials filed by Disciplinary Counsel, the Statewide Bar Counsel, the Statewide Grievance Committee or a reviewing committee thereof, or a Grievance Panel, no materials sent to the Grievance Panel investigating the complaint, including, but not limited to the complaint and the answer shall include personal identifying information as defined by Section 4-7 of the Connecticut Practice Book. The person filing any materials with personal identifying information must redact them.  The Grievance Panel or its counsel may redact materials that do not follow this rule.

I. Except for materials filed by Disciplinary Counsel, the Statewide Bar Counsel, the Statewide Grievance Committee or a reviewing committee thereof, or a Grievance Panel, no materials sent to the Grievance Panel investigating the complaint, including the complaint and the answer, shall include hospital, psychiatric or medical records.  If a Complainant, Respondent or Disciplinary Counsel pursuing the matter under Section 2-32(f) of the Connecticut Practice Book want to file a hospital, psychiatric or medical record with the Grievance Panel, then the record(s) must be filed in a sealed envelope, that has the case name and number and the name of the person filing it written on the envelope.  The record(s) must be accompanied by a written statement explaining how the material(s) is relevant and how it will help prove the complaint or a defense to the complaint. 

(1) The Grievance Panel and its counsel will determine whether the written statement of the person who filed the hospital, psychiatric or medical record(s) establishes that the material(s) is relevant and will help prove the complaint or a defense to the complaint.  If the written statement does not demonstrate why the hospital, psychiatric or medical record(s) is relevant and how it will help prove the complaint or a defense to the complaint, the record(s) will be returned to the person who filed them, and no copy will be kept as part of the Grievance Panel’s record.

(2) If the written statement establishes that the hospital, psychiatric or medical record(s) is relevant and will help prove the complaint or a defense to the complaint, then the Grievance Panel will review the record(s) with its counsel in private.  If upon review of the record, the Grievance Panel determines that the record(s) is not relevant despite the written statement of the person filing it, then the record(s) will be retuned  and no copy will be kept as part of the Grievance Panel’s record.

(3) If after reviewing the record(s) in accordance with subsection (2), the Grievance Panel determines that the that the record(s) is relevant but more harmful or prejudicial than helpful in proving the complaint or a defense to the complaint, then the record(s) will be returned to the person who filed them, and no copy of it will be kept as part of the Grievance Panel’s record.  If the Grievance Panel decides that the record(s) is relevant and that it is more helpful in proving the complaint or a defense to the complaint than harmful or prejudicial, then it will become a part of the Grievance Panel record and Grievance Counsel will give a copy of it to the other participants.

Nothing in this rule prevents a Complainant, Respondent, Disciplinary Counsel or a witness from raising an objection to the use of any hospital, psychiatric or medical record.

J. A Grievance Panel's written determination that probable cause exists that the attorney is guilty of misconduct, filed pursuant to §2-32(i) of the Connecticut Practice Book, shall include but not be limited to the following:

1. A list of the specific Rules of Professional Conduct and/or Practice Book Sections considered by the Panel in reviewing the matter;

2. A brief discussion of the facts of the matter as applied to the specific Rules and Sections; and

3. The specific Rule or Rules of Professional Conduct and/or Practice Book Section or Sections upon which the probable cause determination is predicated.

K. A Grievance Panel's written determination that probable cause does not exist that the attorney is guilty of misconduct, filed pursuant to §2-32(i) of the Connecticut Practice Book, shall include but not be limited to the following:

1. A list of specific Rules of Professional Conduct and/or Practice Book Sections considered by the Panel in rendering its determination; and

2. A brief discussion of the facts of the matter as applied to the specific Rules and/or Sections.

L. In any matter referred by the Statewide Grievance Committee or its counsel to a Grievance Panel for investigation, including overdraft notifications, said Grievance Panel shall complete its investigation within the same time frame as set forth for the investigation of grievance complaints under Practice Book Section 2-32(i).  

Top

RULE 2. INVESTIGATIVE HEARINGS
A. In all matters in which a hearing is held by a Grievance Panel, the Complainant and the Respondent, and Disciplinary Counsel if involved pursuant to Practice Book §2-29(f), shall be sent a notice of the hearing by the Panel's Grievance Counsel by first class mail. The notice shall include a statement of the time and place of the hearing and that the hearing shall be on the record. The hearing shall not be open to the public unless the Respondent so requests pursuant to Practice Book §2-32(g).

B. The Grievance Panel in its discretion may grant a continuance only for good cause shown.

C. At investigative hearings:

1. Any oral or documentary evidence may be received but the Grievance Panel shall exclude irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious evidence.

2. When a hearing will be expedited and the interests of the Complainant and the Respondent will not be prejudiced substantially, any part of the evidence may be received in written form.

3. Documentary evidence may be received in the form of copies or excerpts if the original is not readily available. If the request is reasonable and timely, the Complainant, or Disciplinary Counsel if involved pursuant to Practice Book §2-29(f), and the Respondent may be given an opportunity to compare the copy with the original.

4. A Complainant, or Disciplinary Counsel if involved pursuant to Practice Book §2-29(f), and Respondent may conduct direct and cross examinations of witnesses only at the discretion of the hearing body.

D. Unless the Grievance Panel determines that a witness is necessary to the resolution of a complaint, it shall be the responsibility of the Complainant, or Disciplinary Counsel if involved pursuant to Practice Book §2-29(f), and the Respondent by subpoena or otherwise to secure the presence of witnesses.

Top

 

 

Attorneys | Case Look-up | Courts | Directories | Educational Resources | E-Services | Español | FAQ's | Juror Information | Media | Opinions | Opportunities | Self-Help | Home

Common Legal Words | Contact Us | Site Map | Website Policies and Disclaimers

Copyright © 2013, State of Connecticut Judicial Branch