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Frequently Asked Questions
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Retaining a Lawyer
  1. Why should I have a lawyer?
  2. How do I choose a lawyer?
  3. How do I locate a lawyer?
  4. How do I find an attorney juris number?
  5. Limited Scope Representation - Frequently Asked Questions

To legally Practice Law in Connecticut

  1. How are people legally permitted to practice law in CT?
  2. What is the process for being admitted to the Connecticut bar?
  3. What is the Connecticut Bar Examining Committee?
  4. Can I get Bar Exam results?
  5. What are the employment and volunteer opportunities with the courts for lawyers?

Complaining about a Lawyer

  1. How do I complain about a lawyer?
  2. What are the rules of professional conduct?
  3. What happens after a complaint against a lawyer is filed?
  4. Where can I get more information about complaints against lawyers?
  5. Can I get a list of recent complaint decisions?

Client Security Fund

  1. What is the Client Security Fund?
  2. What is the Client Security Fund Fee?
General Questions
  1. How does an attorney or firm file a change of address?
  2. How does an attorney retire from the practice of law?
  3. What are the procedures for filing certain civil matters with the Superior Court?
  4. How do I obtain an attorney photo ID card?
Minimum Continuing Legal Education
  1. Frequently Asked Questions

 

1. Why should I have a lawyer?
Lawyers are trained legal professionals who can explain the laws to you; help you evaluate your options; negotiate or mediate conflicts with other people; prepare letters, court forms or other legal documents for you; and represent you in court. Many lawyers offer a free (or minimal fee) initial consultation.

2. How do I choose a lawyer?
  • Word of mouth. Talk to your friends or relatives about a lawyer they may have used and who they can recommend.
  • Call the local bar association lawyer referral program for your area, listed below. The programs charge a fee for a referral.
Location Telephone Number
Fairfield County (203) 335-4116
Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, Tolland and Windham Counties (860) 525-6052
New Haven County (203) 562-5750
New London County (860) 889-9384
  • If you have a low income and you have been arrested, you may qualify for an attorney through the public defender's office. Apply at the public defender's office, located in each courthouse handling criminal cases, on your first court date.
  • If you have a low income and have a civil case (for example, divorce, landlord/tenant, child support), call Statewide Legal Services at 1-800-453-3320 (860-344-0380 for the Middletown area) for a lawyer or referral to a lawyer who may help you for free or for a reduced fee.

3. How do I locate a lawyer?
To find the address of an attorney admitted to practice law in Connecticut, go to the Attorney/Firm Look-up and enter the last name of the attorney whose address you wish to find.

4. How do I find an attorney juris number?
To find the address or juris number of an attorney admitted to practice law in Connecticut, go to the Attorney/Firm Look-up page on our website and enter the last name of the attorney whose address or juris number you wish to find.

5. Limited Scope Representation - Frequently Asked Questions

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6. How are people legally permitted to practice law in Connecticut?

Legal Practice of Law in Connecticut:
The Superior Court regulates the practice of law in Connecticut. There are three ways to practice law legally in Connecticut. (They are more fully described in the Connecticut Practice Book Sections 8 and following.)
  1. Bar Admission;
  2. Connecticut recognition of attorney licensed to practice law in another state (Pro Hac Vice); and,
  3. Law student certification.
For further information see the Connecticut Bar Examining Committee website.

7. What is the process for being admitted to the Connecticut bar?

8. What is the Connecticut Bar Examining Committee?


9. Can I get Bar Exam results?

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10. What are the employment and volunteer opportunities with the courts for lawyers?

  1. Law Clerks:
    Positions are available for law school graduates as law clerks for:

    (Click on the judges you are interested in clerking for to learn about the application process, duties, compensation and other benefits.)

  2. Temporary Assistant Clerks 

  3. Non-Judicial Officers:
    These include arbitrators, attorney trial referees, fact finders, magistrates and small claims commissioners. Some positions are compensated, others are on a volunteer basis. List of non-judicial officers, their qualifications, duties, compensation and authority.

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11. How do I complain about a lawyer?
  • First, talk to your lawyer and try to resolve your complaint. You may also want to talk to one of the other partners in the law firm.
  • If your complaint is about fees, you may want to use the Arbitration of Legal Fee Disputes process set up by the Connecticut Bar Association. To receive a copy of the Rules for Arbitration of Legal Fee Dispute and the necessary forms, please contact:
Connecticut Bar Association External Link - (enter "fee arbitration" in the CBA Search Box).
30 Bank Street
P.O. Box 350
New Britain, CT 06050-0350
Telephone: (860) 223-4400, Fax: (860) 223-4488
  • The court's Bar Grievance Committee has authority to investigate serious complaints against lawyers about misconduct or unethical behavior and to discipline lawyers.
  • A complaint, or grievance, is started by completing and signing a complaint form and mailing it to:
Statewide Bar Counsel
287 Main Street, Suite 2, Second Floor
East Hartford, CT 06118-1885.
  • Complaint Form JD-GC-6 - PDF
  • Attorney Grievance Procedures in Connecticut - PDF Pamphlet
  • Complaint forms are also available at every Superior Court Clerk's Office. There is no charge for filing a grievance complaint.
  • Lawyers are regulated by the Superior Court. The standards governing the ethical behavior of lawyers are called The Rules of Professional Conduct. They are printed in the Connecticut Practice Book, which is available at any courthouse law library.

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12. What are the rules of professional conduct?

View The Rules of Professional Conduct in the Connecticut Practice Book - PDF

13. What happens after a complaint against a lawyer is filed?
The procedure for disciplining lawyers is also in the Practice Book, beginning with Section 2-29. In addition, the Statewide Grievance Committee has adopted its own rules of procedure to supplement those found in the practice book.

The Statewide Bar Counsel reviews your complaint and either sends it to be investigated by a grievance panel or sends it to the Statewide Grievance Committee with a recommendation that it be dismissed for one of the reasons stated below.

Some reasons for dismissing complaints:

  • only involves a fee dispute which is not clearly excessive or improper;
  • no claim of misconduct;
  • does not contain specific enough information on which to base an investigation;
  • duplicates a complaint already considered and dismissed; or,
  • involves personal behavior outside the practice of law.

Every Judicial District has a grievance panel made up of one lay person and two attorneys who do not have offices in the Judicial District. The panel decides whether there is "probable cause" to believe that the lawyer is guilty of misconduct. The grievance panel may hold a hearing on your complaint as part of their investigation. A copy of the grievance panel's probable cause decision will be sent to you within 120 days of the referral to the panel.

All determinations of a grievance panel finding that there exists probable cause of misconduct are referred to the Statewide Grievance Committee for further action. The committee conducts a hearing open to the public on probable cause referrals. If the complaint is filed on or after January 1, 2004, a disciplinary counsel will present the case to the Committee at its hearing when probable cause of misconduct is found. If a grievance panel determines that there is no probable cause of misconduct, it will dismiss the complaint. Such a dismissal is a final decision, subject to no further review, unless there is an allegation in the complaint that the attorney committed a crime, in which case a finding of no probable cause will be reviewed by the Statewide Grievance Committee. The Statewide Grievance Committee is a board of 21 members. At least seven of them are not lawyers. The committee makes the final decision on the grievance or complaint.

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14. Where can I get more information about complaints about lawyers?

If you still have questions regarding the grievance process, please call or write to:

Statewide Bar Counsel
287 Main Street, Suite 2, Second Floor
East Hartford, CT 06118-1885
Telephone: 860-568-5157

  • The Bar Counsel cannot advise you as to whether to file a complaint.
15. Can I get a list of recent complaint decisions?

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16. What is the Client Security Fund?
The Client Security Fund is a fund established by the rules of the Connecticut Superior Court to provide reimbursement to individuals who have lost money or property as a result of the dishonest conduct of an attorney practicing law in the State of Connecticut, in the course of the attorney-client relationship. The fund provides a remedy for clients who are unable to obtain reimbursement for their loss from any other source.

Where does money for the Client Security Fund come from?
The fund is financed by a fee collected from each attorney admitted to practice law in the State of Connecticut, as well as each judge, judge trial referee, state referee, family support magistrate, family support referee and workers' compensation commissioner.

Who administers the Client Security Fund?
The fund is administered by the Client Security Fund Committee, which is comprised of fifteen members. Nine of the members are attorneys, three are non-attorneys, and three serve either as a judge, appellate court judge, supreme court justice, family support magistrate, family support referee or workers' compensation commissioner.

What types of losses are covered by the Client Security Fund?
The Client Security Fund Committee may reimburse losses resulting from the dishonest conduct of a Connecticut attorney who has died, been adjudged incapable, not competent or mentally ill, been disbarred or suspended from the practice of law, been placed on inactive status by a Connecticut court, resigned from the Connecticut bar, or against whom a judgment has been obtained with respect to the dishonest conduct. "Dishonest conduct" means wrongful acts committed by an attorney, in an attorney-client relationship, in the nature of theft or embezzlement of money or the wrongful taking of money, property or other things of value. It does not include wrongful acts committed in connection with the provision of investment services. Furthermore, a loss ordinarily will not be covered by the fund if the claim is presented more than four years after the loss was discovered or should have been discovered or if the loss was suffered by a close relative, business associate or partner of the attorney. In some cases, the Client Security Fund Committee may require you to pursue other remedies that you may have against the attorney who caused your loss before considering your claim, such as filing a civil lawsuit against the attorney or the attorney's estate.

How do I file a claim?
You may file a claim by completing and returning a claim form, available from the office of the Client Security Fund Committee, Second Floor, Suite One, 287 Main Street, East Hartford, Connecticut, 06118-1885, telephone (860) 568-3450. The form should be completed providing as much information as possible. The Client Security Fund Committee may require additional information from you in addition to the information provided in the form. Obtain a copy of form JD-GC-15 - Application for Reimbursement - Client Security Fund
- PDF.

There is no application fee. You are not required to be represented by an attorney, although you may have one represent you if you wish. Attorneys may not charge a fee for assisting individuals with their claim unless the fee is approved by the Client Security Fund Committee.

What is the claims process?
Each claim is reviewed to determine if it is eligible for reimbursement. If the claim is not eligible for reimbursement, you will be notified. Eligible claims are investigated, and the Client Security Fund Committee determines, in its sole discretion, the amount of reimbursement that will be allowed, if any, and how payment will be made.

What happens if I am awarded payment on my claim?
In order for you to receive payment, the Client Security Fund Committee will require you to sign documents transferring your claim against the dishonest attorney to the Committee, in order to allow the Client Security Fund Committee to attempt to obtain reimbursement from that attorney for amounts paid to you. If the Client Security Fund Committee reimburses you for all or any part of your loss, you are also required to cooperate with the Committee to help them obtain reimbursement from the attorney for the amounts that were paid to you.

How long does the claims process take?
It depends upon the length of time that is required to obtain enough information for the Client Security Fund Committee to make a decision regarding your claim. However, you will receive a written decision regarding the claim once it is made by the Client Security Fund Committee.

How can I get more information or answers to questions?
Contact the office of the Client Security Fund Committee at (860) 568-3450 or by email: Security.Fund@jud.ct.gov

Please note that these answers to questions have been provided to you for informational purposes only, and are not intended in any way to amend or supplement the Superior Court rules or Committee regulations which govern the Client Security Fund Committee. Reference may be had to the Connecticut Practice Book, available at any Superior Court library for the official text of the rules governing the activities of the Client Security Fund Committee. View The Client Security Fund, Answers to Your Questions Brochure, JDP-GC-16 - in PDF format.

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17. What Is the Client Security Fund Fee?
Connecticut Practice Book Section 2-70 provides that an annual fee be assessed attorneys to fund a client security fund. The purpose of the client security fund is to reimburse clients who have been the victims of the "dishonest conduct" of an attorney, as defined in Practice Book Section 2-69, and to provide crisis intervention and referral assistance pursuant to Practice Book Section 2-68A to attorneys admitted to the practice of law in this state who suffer from alcohol or other substance abuse problems or gambling problems, or who have behavioral health problems. Information about crisis intervention and referral services provided to attorneys may be found on the Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers web page. Pursuant to Practice Book Section 2-70(a), the annual fee is $75.00. For answers to questions about the client security fund fee, e-mail Security.Fund@jud.ct.gov, or telephone (860) 568-3450.

Who must pay the fee?
The fee must be paid by each attorney admitted to practice in Connecticut, and each judge, judge trial referee, state referee, family support magistrate, family support referee and workers compensation commissioner. See Practice Book Section 2-70 for more information.

Who is exempt from the fee?
An attorney is not exempt from the fee because he or she practices out of state, or because he or she does not actively practice law. Only those attorneys who have retired, resigned, who have served on active duty in the armed forces of the United States for a period of more than six months during the calendar year, or who have been disbarred, are exempt from payment of the fee. Attorneys have "retired" only if they have complied with the provisions of Practice Book Section 2-55 and Section 51-81b(g) of the Connecticut General Statutes. (Attorney Retirement Notice - Form  JD-CL-68). A partial, fifty percent exemption is available to attorneys who do not engage in the practice of law as an occupation and have not earned and do not expect to earn more than $450.00 in legal fees or other compensation for services involving the practice of law during the calendar year. If being an attorney is a factor in an individual's employment, such attorney is deemed engaged in the practice of law as an occupation for purposes of the partial exemption and does not qualify for the partial exemption.

18. How does an attorney or firm file a change of address?
Firm Change of Address:
  • Individual attorneys in a firm, complete form JD-GC-10
  • Principal of firm, complete form JD-GC-10 for both self and firm. And complete form JD-ES-145.
Individual Attorneys: Note: Submission of a change of address to the Department of Revenue Services (in connection with the Occupational Tax or otherwise) does not constitute the required notice to the Connecticut Judicial Branch.

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19. How does an attorney retire from the practice of law?
Effective January 1, 2014, attorneys have the option to request retirement with the right of revocation, or permanently. The forms are available here: JD-GC-24 (Revocable Retirement) or JD-GC 26 (Permanent Retirement). View more information on retirement

20. What are the procedures for filing certain civil matters with the Superior Court?

21. How do I obtain an attorney photo ID card?

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