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Public Hearing Scheduled on Attorney Advertising Report

A public hearing on the report issued by the Committee on Attorney Advertising is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 19, 2006, at the Appellate Court, located at 75 Elm St. in Hartford.

The public hearing will start at 4 p.m.

View a copy of the Report of the Committee on Lawyer Advertising - (PDF).

Appellate Court Judge C. Ian McLachlan chairs the committee, which Chief Justice William J. Sullivan established in 2004 to address the issue of attorney advertising. The purpose of the public hearing is to receive comments concerning the committee’s proposed revisions to the Connecticut Practice Book and to the Rules of Professional Conduct relating to attorney advertising.

Following is a verbatim outline that was published in the Connecticut Law Journal regarding the major changes that the committee has proposed. The first seven bullets involve revisions to the Code of Professional Conduct. The last two bullets summarize two new proposed Practice Book sections that the committee is recommending.

  • In Rule 7.1 current subsections (2) and (3), which prohibit communications likely to create an unjustified expectation about results the lawyer can achieve and unsubstantiated comparisons of the lawyer’s services with other lawyers’ services, have been moved from the text to the Commentary, where they are discussed as examples of communications that are prohibited because they are false or misleading.
  • Lawyers may use new electronic technology, including the Internet, to advertise their services and such advertising is subject to the Rules of Professional Conduct (Rule 7.2).
  • An electronic advertisement or communication must be copied once every three months and retained for three years after its last dissemination (Rule 7.2).
  • A lawyer is only permitted to pay the usual charges of a not-for-profit or qualified lawyer referral service as defined in subsection (c) (2) of Rule 7.2.
  • An advertisement or communication made pursuant to Rule 7.2 must include the name of at least one lawyer admitted in Connecticut responsible for its content.
  • A lawyer who is not admitted to practice in Connecticut is subject to the disciplinary authority of this state if the lawyer provides or offers to provide any legal services in this state (Rule 8.5).
  • If a lawyer is subject to the disciplinary authority of both this jurisdiction and another jurisdiction for the same conduct, and the conduct takes place in connection with a matter before a tribunal, the disciplinary rules for the jurisdiction in which the tribunal sits shall be applied. For any other conduct, the lawyer is subject to the rules of the jurisdiction in which the lawyer’s conduct occurred or if the predominant effect of the conduct is in a different jurisdiction, the rules of that jurisdiction shall be applied (Rule 8.5).
  • Lawyers who advertise must file a copy of their advertisement with the Statewide Grievance Committee either prior to or concurrently with the first dissemination of the advertisement. The filing must be in the same form or forms in which the advertisement is to be disseminated. Several types of communication are exempted from this filing requirement. The statewide bar counsel shall review the material filed on a random basis and if he or she finds that the material violates the rules, shall attempt to resolve the matter with the lawyer. If the matter cannot be resolved, the statewide bar counsel shall forward the matter to the Statewide Grievance Committee. If the Statewide Grievance Committee determines that the material does not comply with the rules, it shall forward the matter to the disciplinary counsel with a direction to file a presentment against the lawyer in Superior Court.
  • A lawyer may request an advance advisory opinion concerning a contemplated advertisement’s compliance with the rules from the Statewide Grievance Committee. A fee for the advisory opinion is to be established by the chief court administrator. An advisory opinion finding noncompliance with the rules is not binding in a disciplinary proceeding, but a finding of compliance with the rules is binding in a subsequent disciplinary proceeding. If a lawyer disseminates an advertisement after receiving an advisory opinion finding that such advertisement violates the Rules of Professional Conduct, the Statewide Grievance Committee, upon receiving notice of the dissemination, shall forward the matter to the disciplinary counsel with a direction to file a presentment against the lawyer in Superior Court.

For further information, please contact Rhonda Stearley-Hebert, External Affairs Division, at 860-757-2270.

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