Atty. Marcy Tench Stovall, Chair
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2017-2018 Annual Report of the Standing Committee on Professional Ethics
Memo on Rule of Professional Conduct 1.6
Provides members of the bar with opinions on matters of professional ethics. Written requests for opinions are referred to a committee member for preparation of a draft opinion, which is then debated and considered for adoption or rejection at the monthly meeting of the committee in New Haven. Some opinions are referred to subcommittees for research, reconsideration, and revision. All of the committee members are therefore given an opportunity to participate in the activities of the committee. The committee issues Formal and Informal Opinions. The Formal Opinions are published in the Connecticut Bar Journal and the ABA/BNA Lawyers Manual on Professional Conduct. Informal Opinions are provided to the Yale, UConn, and Quinnipiac Law Libraries and are made available at the CBA office. Digests are published in the ABA/BNA Manual. The CBA publishes annually the Professional Responsibility Reference Guide, which includes updated Formal and Informal Opinions rendered by the committee since adoption of the Rules of Professional Conduct in Connecticut, October 1, 1986.
Summary of Adopted Changes to Rules
The Committee on Professional Ethics receives and considers written requests for advice about professional ethics and issues advisory opinions on professional conduct. Generally, advice should be requested concerning one’s own future conduct, not one’s own or someone else’s past conduct.
A request for a committee opinion should state specifically the facts giving rise to the issue, state the issue upon which an opinion is requested, and refer to any provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct that the writer believes to be relevant. Requests are forwarded to a committee member to prepare a draft response, which is considered by the committee members for discussion, amendment, and then issuance of an Informal Opinion. On occasion, the committee will determine that a matter is of significant enough interest to the Bar that a Formal Opinion is called for, and will refer the matter to a subcommittee to prepare a draft Formal Opinion for submission at a subsequent meetings and referral to the CBA Board of Governors for comment.
The committee may determine that no action is warranted upon a request for opinion (a) because the matter is in litigation, and judicial action is the appropriate recourse; (b) the issue involves the conduct of a person other than the one requesting the opinion; or (c) the request is for an opinion of law rather than ethics, or is speculative, or fails to meet the requisite standards of clarity, or is otherwise inappropriate for committee action.
The Rules of Professional Conduct have the force of law on attorneys. The Formal and Informal Opinions are advisory opinions. Although the Connecticut Supreme Court has on occasion referred to them as well reasoned, the advisory opinions are not authoritative and are not binding on the Statewide Grievance Committee or the courts.
Formal and Informal Opinions are available to CBA members on Casemaker. The Professional Responsibility Reference Guide (PRRG) contains Formal and Informal Opinions and the Rules of Professional Conduct. The PRRG is available for sale under "CLE & Publications" on this Web site.
Requests for opinions should be addressed to:
Marcy Tench Stovall, Chair
Committee on Professional Ethics
Connecticut Bar Association
30 Bank Street
New Britain, CT 06050
Informal Opinion 2016-04: Payment of a Referral Fee to Attorney for Conserved Person
Informal Opinion 2016-02: Concurrent Clients - Conflict of Interest - Municipal Tax Sales
Informal Opinion 2016-01: Duty to Safeguard Discharged Attorney's Fee
Informal Opinion 2015-08: Sale of a Law Practice
Informal Opinion 2015-07: Duty to Follow Instructions of Client with Diminished Capacity in Appealing Probate Court Order
Informal Opinion 2015-06: Whether a Lawyer May Practice Law Simultaneously in More Than One Law Firm
Informal Opinion 2015-05: Criminal and Civil Case Under Rule 3.4(7)
Informal Opinion 2015-04: Lawyer's Participation in a Barter-Exchange Program
Informal Opinion 2015-03: Dual Role as Attorney and Real Estate Agent in the Same Transaction
Informal Opinion 2015-02: Signing Unenforceable Home Improvement Contract
Informal Opinion 2015-01: Lawyer May Not Properly Condition Settlement of a Civil Matter on Agreement Not to Report Professional Misconduct
Informal Opinion 2014-08: Lawyer's Possession and use of Medical Marijuana
Informal Opinion 2014-07: Clients' Funds Held for Clients Whose Names and Addresses are Unknown
Informal Opinion 2014-06: When Client Consent is Necessary in Limited Scope Representation of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Debtor
Informal Opinion 2014-05: Prior Work Conflict of Interest and Reimbursing Filing Fees
Informal Opinion 2014-04: Sharing Law Office Resources with Non-firm Lawyer
Informal Opinion 2014-03: Referral Fee in Non-Contingency Fee Action including Family matters
Informal Opinion 2014-02: Payment of Advance Fees and Costs by Credit Card
Informal Opinion 2014-01: Opinion Regarding the Billing of Attorney's Fees in Matters Subject to Probate Court Approval
Informal Opinion 2013-10: Permissibility of Non-Disparagement Clauses Under Rule 5.6(2)
Informal Opinion 2013-09: Former Probate Judge's Compliance with Rule 1.12(a)
Informal Opinion 2013-08: Use of a Call Recording Service
Informal Opinion 2013-07: Cloud Computing
Informal Opinion 2013-06: Consent to Personal Interest Conflict of Interest
Informal Opinion 2013-05: Duty to Report Suspected Professional Misconduct
Informal Opinion 2013-04: Referral Fee for Action Against Former Client
Informal Opinion 2013-03: Accreditation with Better Business Bureau
Informal Opinion 2013-02: Providing Legal Services to Clients Seeking Licenses Under the Connecticut Medical Marijuana Law
Informal Opinion 2013-01: Fee-Sharing with a Suspended Lawyer
Informal Opinion 2012-10: Proposed Representation of Opposing Counsel as Litigant in Case Unrelated to Matters in which Counsel are Currently Adverse
Informal Opinion 2012-09: Retiring Attorney's Proposed Disposition of Client's Files
Informal Opinion 2012-08: Lawyer's Response When a Client Terminates Representation with Request Not to be Contacted
Informal Opinion 2012-07: Law firm members' practice before a judicial officer who is a family member of an associate of the firm
Informal Opinion 2012-06: May Counsel Agree to Hold a Settling Defendant Harmless From Third Party Liens in Connection With the Settlement of a Client's Claim?
Informal Opinion 2012-05: Identifying Non-Lawyer as 'Principal' on Letterhead
Informal Opinion 2012-04: Work Performed in Anticipation of New Federal Regulation
Informal Opinion 2012-03: Martindale.com Client Review Ratings
Informal Opinion 2012-02: In-House Lawyer Representing Joint-Venture Corporations in Connection With a Patent Application
Informal Opinion 2012-01: Duty to Protect Hospital Liens Under Section 43-72, of the General Statutes
Informal Opinion 2011-11: Attorney Serving as Municipal Corporation Counsel - Potential Issues Arising from Prior Representation of Individual Client
Informal Opinion 2011-10: Humanitarian Financial Assistance to Client
Informal Opinion 2011-9: Defense Counsel Contact with Putative Class Members Before Certification