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All 50 states govern lawyer advertising through their Rules of Professional Conduct, often known as “ethics rules.” The rules in each state are unique to that state. Therefore, it is imperative that lawyers familiarize themselves with the rules of the states that govern their conduct.
A lawyer shall not make a false or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer’s services. A communication is false or misleading if it contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading.
COMMENTARY: This Rule governs all communications about a lawyer’s services, including advertising. Whatever means are used to make known a lawyer’s services, statements about them must be truthful. Misleading truthful statements are prohibited by this Rule. A truthful statement is misleading if it omits a fact necessary to make the lawyer’s communication considered as a whole not materially misleading. A truthful statement is misleading if a substantial likelihood exists that it will lead a reasonable person to formulate a specific conclusion about the lawyer or the lawyer’s services for which there is no reasonable factual foundation. A truthful statement also is misleading if presented in a way that leads a reasonable person to believe the lawyer’s communication requires that person to take further action when, in fact, no action is required.
A communication that truthfully reports a lawyer’s achievements on behalf of clients or former clients may be misleading if presented without a disclaimer indicating that the communicated result is based upon the particular facts of that case so as to lead a reasonable person to form an unjustified expectation that the same results could be obtained for other clients in similar matters without reference to the specific factual and legal circumstances of each client’s case. Similarly, an unsubstantiated claim about a lawyer’s or law firm’s services or fees, or an unsubstantiated comparison of the lawyer’s services or fees with those of other lawyers or law firms may be misleading if presented with such specificity as would lead a reasonable person to conclude that the comparison or claim can be substantiated. The inclusion of an appropriate disclaimer or qualifying language may preclude a finding that a statement is likely to create unjustified expectations or otherwise mislead the public.
In addition to the provisions of this Rule, see Rule 8.4 (3) defining professional misconduct to include conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. See also Rule 8.4 (5) for the prohibition against stating or implying an ability to improperly influence a government agency or official or to achieve results by means that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law.
Firm names, letterhead and professional designations are communications concerning a lawyer’s services. A firm may be designated by the names of all or some of its current members, by the names of deceased or retired members where there has been a succession in the firm’s identity or by a trade name if it is not false or misleading. A lawyer or law firm also may be designated by a distinctive website address, social media username or comparable professional designation that is not misleading. A law firm name or designation is misleading if it implies a connection with a government agency, with a deceased lawyer who was not a former member of the firm, with a lawyer not associated with the firm or a predecessor firm, with a nonlawyer or with a public or charitable legal services organization. If a firm uses a trade name that includes a geographical name such as “Springfield Legal Clinic,” an express statement explaining that it is not a public legal aid organization may be required to avoid a misleading implication.
Letterhead identification of the lawyers in the office of the firm shall indicate the jurisdictional limitations on those not licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the office is located.
A law firm with offices in more than one jurisdiction may use the same name or other professional designation in each jurisdiction.
Lawyers may not imply or hold themselves out as practicing together in one firm when they are not a firm, as defined in Rule 1.0 (d), because to do so would be false and misleading.
It is misleading to use the name of a lawyer holding a public office in the name of a law firm, or in communications on the law firm’s behalf, during any substantial period in which the lawyer is not actively and regularly practicing with the firm.
HISTORY—2021: The first sentence and citation of the third paragraph of the commentary, ‘‘It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. Rule 8.4 (3).’’ were deleted and replaced with ‘‘In addition to the provisions of this Rule, see Rule 8.4 (3) defining professional misconduct to include conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.’’
(Amended June 13, 2019, to take effect Jan. 1, 2020.)
(a) A lawyer may communicate information regarding the lawyer’s services through all media.
(b) (1) A copy or recording of a communication regarding the lawyer’s services shall be kept for three years after its last dissemination along with a record of when and where it was used. An electronic communication regarding the lawyer’s services shall be copied once every three months on a compact disc or similar technology and kept for three years after its last dissemination. (2) A lawyer shall comply with the mandatory filing requirement of Practice Book Section 2-28A.
(c) A lawyer shall not compensate, give or promise anything of value to a person for recommending the lawyer’s services, except that a lawyer may:
(1) pay the reasonable cost of advertisements or communications permitted by this Rule;
(2) pay the usual charges of a not-for-profit or qualified lawyer referral service;
(3) pay for a law practice in accordance with Rule 1.17;
(4) refer clients to another lawyer or a nonlawyer professional pursuant to an agreement not otherwise prohibited under these Rules that provides for the other person to refer clients or customers to the lawyer, if:
(A) the reciprocal referral agreement is not exclusive; and
(B) the client is informed of the existence and nature of the agreement; and
(5) give a nominal gift as an expression of appreciation, provided that such a gift is neither intended nor reasonably expected to be a form of compensation for recommending a lawyer’s services, and such gifts are limited to no more than two per year to any recipient.
(d) A lawyer shall not state or imply that a lawyer is certified as a specialist in a particular field of law, unless:
(1) the lawyer is currently certified as a specialist in that field of law by a board or other entity which is approved by the Rules Committee of the Superior Court of this state or by an organization accredited by the American Bar Association; and
(2) the name of the certifying organization is clearly identified in the communication.
(e) Any communication made under this Rule must include the name and contact information of at least one lawyer admitted in Connecticut responsible for its content. In the case of television advertisements, the name, address and telephone number of the lawyer admitted in Connecticut shall be displayed in bold print for fifteen seconds or the duration of the commercial, whichever is less, and shall be prominent enough to be readable.
(f) Every communication that contains information about the lawyer’s fee, including those indicating that the charging of a fee is contingent on outcome, or that no fee will be charged in the absence of a recovery, or that the fee will be a percentage of the recovery, shall disclose whether and to what extent the client will be responsible for any court costs and expenses of litigation. The disclosure concerning court costs and expenses of litigation shall be in the same print size and type as the information regarding the lawyer’s fee and, if broadcast, shall appear for the same duration as the information regarding the lawyer’s fee. If the information regarding the fee is spoken, the disclosure concerning court costs and expenses of litigation shall also be spoken.
(g) A lawyer who communicates a specific fee or range of fees for a particular service shall honor the fee or range of fees described in the communication for at least ninety days unless the communication specifies a shorter period; provided that, for communications in the yellow pages of telephone directories or other media not published more frequently than annually, the fee or range of fees described in the communication shall be honored for no less than one year following publication.
(h) A lawyer and service may participate in an internet based client to lawyer matching service, provided the service otherwise complies with the Rules of Professional Conduct. If the service provides an exclusive referral to a lawyer or law firm for a particular practice area in a particular geographical region, then the service must comply with subsection (e).
COMMENTARY: This Rule permits public dissemination of information concerning a lawyer or law firm’s name, address, e-mail address, website, and telephone number; the kinds of services the lawyer will undertake; the basis on which the lawyer’s fees are determined, including prices for specific services and payment and credit arrangements; whether and to what extent the client will be responsible for any court costs and expenses of litigation; lawyer’s foreign language ability; names of references and, with their consent, names of clients regularly represented; and other information that might invite the attention of those seeking legal assistance.
Record of Communications. Subsection (b) requires that a record of the content and use of advertising be kept in order to facilitate enforcement of this Rule. It does not require that advertising be subject to review prior to dissemination. Such a requirement would be burdensome and expensive relative to its possible benefits, and may be of doubtful constitutionality.
Paying Others To Recommend a Lawyer. Except as permitted under subsection (c) (1) through (c) (5), lawyers are not permitted to pay others for recommending the lawyer’s services. A communication contains a recommendation if it endorses or vouches for a lawyer’s credentials, abilities, competence, character, or other professional qualities. Directory listings and group advertisements that list lawyers by practice area, without more, do not constitute impermissible ‘‘recommendations.’’
Subsection (c) (1) allows a lawyer to pay for advertising and communications permitted by this Rule, including the costs of print directory listings, on-line directory listings, newspaper advertisements, television and radio airtime, domain name registrations, sponsorship fees, advertisements, Internet based advertisements, and group advertising. A lawyer may compensate employees, agents and vendors who are engaged to provide marketing or client development services, such as publicists, public relations personnel, business development staff, television and radio employees or spokespersons, and website designers. See also Rule 5.3 (duties of lawyers and law firms with respect to the conduct of nonlawyers); Rule 8.4 (a) (duty to avoid violating the Rules through the acts of another).
Pursuant to subsection (c) (4), a lawyer also may agree to refer clients to another lawyer or a nonlawyer professional, in return for the undertaking of that person to refer clients or customers to the lawyer. Such reciprocal referral arrangements must not interfere with the lawyer’s professional judgment as to making referrals or as to providing substantive legal services. See Rules 2.1 and 5.4 (c). Except as provided in Rule 1.5 (e), a lawyer who receives referrals from a lawyer or nonlawyer professional must not pay anything solely for the referral, but the lawyer does not violate subsection (c) of this Rule by agreeing to refer clients to the other lawyer or nonlawyer professional, so long as the reciprocal referral agreement is not exclusive and the client is informed of the referral agreement. Conflicts of interest created by such arrangements are governed by Rule 1.7. Reciprocal referral agreements should not be of indefinite duration and should be reviewed periodically to determine whether they comply with these Rules. This Rule does not restrict referrals or divisions of revenues or net income among lawyers within firms comprised of multiple entities.
Subsection (c) (5) permits lawyers to give nominal gifts as an expression of appreciation to a person for recommending the lawyer’s services or referring a prospective client. The gift may not be more than a token item as might be given for holidays, or other ordinary social hospitality. A gift is prohibited if the value of the gift is more than $50, or otherwise indicates a sharing of either legal fees or the ultimate recovery in the referred case, or if the gift is offered or given in consideration of any promise, agreement or understanding that such a gift would be forthcoming or that referrals would be made or encouraged in the future.
A lawyer may pay others for generating client leads, such as Internet-based client leads, as long as the lead generator does not recommend the lawyer, any payment to the lead generator is consistent with Rules 1.5 (e) (division of fees) and 5.4 (professional independence of the lawyer), and the lead generator’s communications are consistent with Rule 7.1 (communications concerning a lawyer’s services). To comply with Rule 7.1, a lawyer must not pay a lead generator that states, implies, or creates a reasonable impression that it is recommending the lawyer, is making the referral without payment from the lawyer, or has analyzed a person’s legal problems when determining which lawyer should receive the referral. See Paying Others ToRecommend a Lawyer above (definition of ‘‘recommendation’’). See also Rule 5.3 (duties of lawyers and law firms with respect to the conduct of nonlawyers); Rule 8.4 (a) (duty to avoid violating the Rules through the acts of another).
A lawyer may pay the usual charges of a legal service plan or a not-for-profitor qualified lawyer referral service. A legal service plan is a prepaid or group legal service plan or a similar delivery system that assists people who seek to secure legal representation. A lawyer referral service, on the other hand, is any organization that holds itself out to the public as a lawyer referral service. Such referral services are understood by the public to be consumer oriented organizations that provide unbiased referrals to lawyers with appropriate experience in the subject matter of the representation and afford other client protections, such as complaint procedures or malpractice insurance requirements. Consequently, this Rule only permits a lawyer to pay the usual charges of a not-for-profit or qualified lawyer referral service. A qualified lawyer referral service is one that is approved by an appropriate regulatory authority as affording adequate protections for the public. See, e.g., the American Bar Association’s Model Supreme Court Rules GoverningLawyer Referral Services and Model Lawyer Referral and Information Service Quality Assurance Act.
A lawyer who accepts assignments or referrals from a legal service plan or referrals from a lawyer referral service must act reasonably to assure that the activities of the plan or service are compatible with the lawyer’s professional obligations. See Rule 5.3. Legal service plans and lawyer referral services may communicate with the public, but such communication must be in conformity with these Rules. Thus, advertising must not be false or misleading, as would be the case if the communications of a group advertising program or a group legal services plan would mislead the public to think that it was a lawyer referral service sponsored by a state agency or bar association.
Communications about Fields of Practice. Subsection (a) of this Rule permits a lawyer to communicate that the lawyer does or does not practice in particular areas of law. A lawyer is generally permitted to state that the lawyer ‘‘concentrates in,’’ ‘‘focuses on,’’ or that the practice is ‘‘limited to’’ particular fields of practice, but such communications are subject to the ‘‘false and misleading’’ standard applied in Rule 7.1 to communications concerning a lawyer’s services.
The Patent and Trademark Office has a long established policy of designating lawyers practicing before the Office. The designation of Admiralty practice also has a long historical tradition associated with maritime commerce and the federal courts. A lawyer’s communications about these practice areas are not prohibited by this Rule. This Rule permits a lawyer to state that the lawyer is certified as a specialist in a field of law if such lawyer is currently certified as a specialist in that field of law by a board or other entity which is approved by the Rules Committee of the Superior Court of this state or by an organization accredited by the American Bar Association. Certification signifies that an objective entity has recognized an advanced degree of knowledge and experience in the specialty area greater than is suggested by general licensure to practice law. Certifying organizations may be expected to apply standards of experience, knowledge and proficiency to ensure that a lawyer’s recognition as a specialist is meaningful and reliable. To ensure that consumers can obtain access to useful information about an organization granting certification, the name of the certifying organization must be included in any communication regarding the certification.
Required Contact Information. This Rule requires that any communication about a lawyer or law firm’s services include the name of, and contact information for, the lawyer or law firm. Contact information includes a website address, a telephone number, an e-mail address or a physical office location.
Amended June 13, 2014, to take effect Jan. 1, 2015.)
(a) ‘‘Solicitation’’ or ‘‘solicit’’ denotes a communication initiated by or on behalf of a lawyer or law firm that is directed to a specific person the lawyer knows or reasonably should know needs legal services in a particular matter and that offers to provide, or reasonably can be understood as offering to provide, legal services for that matter.
(b) A lawyer shall not solicit professional employment by live person-to-person contact when a significant motive for the lawyer’s doing so is the lawyer’s or law firm’s pecuniary gain unless the contact is:
(1) With a lawyer or a person who has a family, close personal or prior business or professional relationship with the lawyer;
(2) Under the auspices of a public or charitable legal services organization;
(3) Under the auspices of a bona fide political, social, civic, fraternal, employee or trade organization whose purposes include but are not limited to providing or recommending legal services, if the legal services are related to the principal purposes of the organization;
(4) With a person who routinely uses for business purposes the type of legal services offered by the lawyer or with a business organization, a not for-profit organization or governmental body and the lawyer seeks to provide services related to the organization.
(c) A lawyer shall not solicit professional employment even when not otherwise prohibited by subsection (b) if:
(1) The lawyer knows or reasonably should know that the physical, emotional or mental state of the person makes it unlikely that the person would exercise reasonable judgment in employing a lawyer;
(2) The target of the solicitation has made known to the lawyer a desire not to be solicited by the lawyer;
(3) The solicitation involves coercion, duress, fraud, overreaching, harassment, intimidation or undue influence; or
(4) The solicitation concerns an action for personal injury or wrongful death or otherwise relates to an accident or disaster involving the person to whom the solicitation is addressed or a relative of that person, unless the accident or disaster occurred more than forty days prior to the mailing of the solicitation, or the recipient is a person or entity within the scope of subsection (b) of this Rule.
(d) This Rule does not prohibit communications authorized by law or ordered by a court or other tribunal.
(e) Every written solicitation, as well as any solicitation by audio or video recording, or other electronic means, used by a lawyer for the purpose of obtaining professional employment from anyone known to be in need of legal services in a particular matter, must be clearly and prominently labeled ‘‘Advertising Material’’ in red ink on the first page of any written solicitation and the lower left corner of the outside envelope or container, if any, and at the beginning and ending of any solicitation by audio or video recording or other electronic means. If the written solicitation is in the form of a self-mailing brochure or pamphlet, the label ‘‘Advertising Material’’ in red ink shall appear on the address panel of the brochure or pamphlet. Communications solicited by clients or any other person, or if the recipient is a person or entity within the scope of subsection (b) of this Rule, need not contain such marks. No reference shall be made in the solicitation to the solicitation having any kind of approval from the Connecticut bar. Such written solicitations shall be sent only by regular United States mail, not by registered mail or other forms of restricted delivery.
(f) Notwithstanding the prohibitions in this Rule, a lawyer may participate with a prepaid or group legal service plan operated by an organization not owned or directed by the lawyer which uses live person-to-person contact to enroll members or sell subscriptions for the plan from persons who are not known to need legal services in a particular matter covered by the plan. (P.B. 1978-1997, Rule 7.3.)
(Amended June 26, 2006, to take effect Jan. 1, 2007; amended June 13, 2014, to take effect Jan. 1, 2015; amended June 13, 2019, to take effect Jan. 1, 2020.)
COMMENTARY: Subsection (b) prohibits a lawyer from soliciting professional employment by live person-to-person contact when a significant motive for the lawyer’s doing so is the lawyer’s or the law firm’s pecuniary gain. A lawyer’s communication is not a solicitation if it is directed to the general public, such as through a billboard, an Internet banner advertisement, a website or a television commercial, or if it is in response to a request for information or is automatically generated in response to electronic searches.
‘‘Live person-to-person contact’’ means in-person, face-to-face, live telephone and other real-time visual or auditory person-to-person communications where the person is subject to a direct personal encounter without time for reflection. Such person-to-person contact does not include chat rooms, text messages or other written communications that recipients may easily disregard. A potential for overreaching exists when a lawyer, seeking pecuniary gain, solicits a person known to be in need of legal services. This form of contact subjects a person to the private importuning of the trained advocate in a direct interpersonal encounter. The person, who may already feel overwhelmed by the circumstances giving rise to the need for legal services, may find it difficult to fully evaluate all available alternatives with reasoned judgment and appropriate self interest in the face of the lawyer’s presence and insistence upon an immediate response. The situation is fraught with the possibility of undue influence, intimidation, and overreaching.
The potential for overreaching inherent in live person-to person contact justifies its prohibition, since lawyers have alternative means of conveying necessary information. In particular, communications can be mailed or transmitted by e-mail or other electronic means that do not violate other laws. These forms of communications make it possible for the public to be informed about the need for legal services, and about the qualifications of available lawyers and law firms, without subjecting the public to live person-to-person persuasion that may overwhelm a person’s judgment.
The contents of live person-to-person contact can be disputed and may not be subject to a third-party scrutiny. Consequently, they are much more likely to approach (and occasionally cross) the dividing line between accurate representations and those that are false and misleading.
There is far less likelihood that a lawyer would engage in overreaching against a former client, or a person with whom the lawyer has a close personal, family, business or professional relationship, or in situations in which the lawyer is motivated by considerations other than the lawyer’s pecuniary gain. Nor is there a serious potential for overreaching when the person contacted is a lawyer or is known to routinely use the type of legal services involved for business purposes. Examples include persons who routinely hire outside counsel to represent the entity; entrepreneurs who regularly engage business, employment law or intellectual property lawyers; small business proprietors who routinely hire lawyers for lease or contract issues; and other people who routinely retain lawyers for business transactions or formations. Subsection (b) is not intended to prohibit a lawyer from participating in constitutionally protected activities of public or charitable legal service organizations or bona fide political, social, civic, fraternal, employee or trade organizations whose purposes include providing or recommending legal services to their members or beneficiaries.
A solicitation that contains false or misleading information within the meaning of Rule 7.1, that involves coercion, duress or harassment within the meaning of Rule 7.3 (c) (3), or that involves contact with someone who has made known to the lawyer a desire not to be solicited by the lawyer within the meaning of Rule 7.3 (c) (2) is prohibited. Live person-to-person solicitation of individuals who may be especially vulnerable to coercion or duress, for example, the elderly, those whose first language is not English, or persons with disabilities, is ordinarily not appropriate when a significant motive for the solicitation is pecuniary gain.
This Rule does not prohibit a lawyer from contacting representatives of organizations or groups that may be interested in establishing a group or prepaid legal plan for their members, insureds, beneficiaries or other third parties for the purpose of informing such entities of the availability of and details concerning the plan or arrangement which the lawyer or lawyer’s firm is willing to offer. This form of communication is not directed to people who are seeking legal services for themselves. Rather, it is usually addressed to an individual acting in a fiduciary capacity seeking a supplier of legal services for others who may, if they choose, become prospective clients of the lawyer. Under these circumstances, the activity which the lawyer undertakes in communicating with such representatives and the typeof information transmitted to the individual are functionally similar to and serve the same purpose as advertising permitted under Rule 7.2.
Communications authorized by law or ordered by a court or tribunal include a notice to potential members of a class in class action litigation.
Subsection (f) of this Rule permits a lawyer to participate with an organization that uses personal contact to solicit members for its group or prepaid legal service plan, provided that the personal contact is not undertaken by any lawyer who would be a provider of legal services through the plan. The organization must not be owned by or directed (whether as manager or otherwise) by any lawyer or law firm that participates in the plan. For example, subsection (f) would not permit a lawyer to create an organization controlled directly or indirectly by the lawyer and use the organization for the in-person or telephone solicitation of legal employment of the lawyer through memberships in the plan or otherwise. The communication permitted by these organizations also must not be directed to a person known to need legal services in a particular matter, but is to be designed to inform potential plan members generally of another means of affordable legal services. Lawyers who participate in a legal service plan must reasonably ensure that the plan sponsors are in compliance with Rules 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3 (c).
HISTORY—2021: In the second sentence of the sixth paragraph of the commentary, ‘‘contact’’ was deleted and was replaced with ‘‘solicitation’’ after ‘‘Live person-to-person,’’ and ‘‘is ordinarily not appropriate’’ was deleted after ‘‘duress,’’ and ‘‘, is ordinarily not appropriate when a significant motive for the solicitation is pecuniary gain’’ was added after ‘‘disabilities.’’
AMENDMENT NOTE: The revisions to the commentary to this rule are made to clarify that live, person-to-person solicitation of individuals who may be especially vulnerable to coercion or duress is ordinarily not appropriate when a significant motive for the solicitation is pecuniary gain.
(a) A lawyer shall not state or imply that he or she is a specialist in a field of law unless the lawyer is currently certified as a specialist in that field of law by a board or other entity which is approved by the Rules Committee of the Superior Court of this state or by an organization accredited by the American Bar Association. Among the criteria to be considered by the Rules Committee in determining upon application whether to approve a board or entity as an agency which may certify lawyers practicing in this state as being specialists, shall be the requirement that the board or entity certify specialists on the basis of published standards and procedures which (1) do not discriminate against any lawyer properly qualified for such certification, (2) provide a reasonable basis for the representation that lawyers so certified possess special competence, and (3) require redetermination of the special qualifications of certified specialists after a period of not more than five years.
(b) Upon certifying a lawyer practicing in this state as being a specialist, the board or entity that certified the lawyer shall notify the Statewide Grievance Committee of the name and juris number of the lawyer, the specialty field in which the lawyer was certified, the date of such certification and the date such certification expires.
(c) A lawyer shall not state that he or she is a certified specialist if the lawyer’s certification has terminated, or if the statement is otherwise contrary to the terms of such certification.
(d) Certification as a specialist may not be attributed to a law firm.
(e) Lawyers may be certified as specialists in the following fields of law:
(1) Administrative law: The practice of law dealing with states, their political subdivisions, regional and metropolitan authorities and other public entities including, but not limited to, their rights and duties, financing, public housing and urban development, the rights of public employees, election A law, school law, sovereign immunity, and constitutional law; practice before federal and state courts and governmental agencies.
(2) Admiralty: The practice of law dealing with all matters arising under the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act (COGSA), Harter Act, Jones Act, and federal and state maritime law including, but not limited to, the carriage of goods, collision and other maritime torts, general average, salvage, limitation of liability, ship financing, ship subsidies, the rights of injured sailors and longshoremen; practice before federal and state courts and governmental agencies (including the Federal Maritime Commission).
(3) Antitrust: The practice of law dealing with all matters arising under the Sherman Act, Clayton Act, Federal Trade Commission Act, HartScott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and state antitrust statutes including, but not limited to, restraints of trade, unfair competition, monopolization, price discrimination, restrictive practices; practice before federal and state courts and governmental agencies.
(4) Appellate practice: The practice of law dealing with all procedural and substantive aspects of civil and criminal matters before federal and state appeals courts including, but not limited to, arguments and the submission of briefs.
(5) Business bankruptcy: The practice of law dealing with all aspects of the United States Bankruptcy Code when the debtor was engaged in business before the institution of a Chapter 7, 9, or 11 proceeding. This includes, but is not limited to, business liquidations, business reorganizations, and related adversary and contested proceedings.
(6) Child welfare law: The practice of law representing children, parents or the government in all child protection proceedings including emergency, temporary custody, adjudication, disposition, foster care, permanency planning, termination, guardianship, and adoption. Child welfare law does not include representation in private child custody and adoption disputes where the state is not a party.
(7) Consumer bankruptcy: The practice of law dealing with all aspects of the United States Bankruptcy Code when the debtor was not engaged in business before the institution of a Chapter 7, 12, or 13 proceeding. This includes, but is not limited to, liquidations, wage earner plans, family farmers and related adversary and contested proceedings.
(8) Civil rights and discrimination: The practice of law dealing with all matters arising under federal and state law relating to proper treatment in the areas of, among others, public accommodations, voting, employment, housing, administration of welfare and social security benefits; practice before federal and state courts and governmental agencies.
(9) Civil trial practice: The practice of law dealing with representation of parties before federal or state courts in all noncriminal matters.
(10) Commercial transactions: The practice of law dealing with all aspects of commercial paper, contracts, sales and financing, including, but not limited to, secured transactions.
(11) Consumer claims and protection: The practice of law dealing with all aspects of consumer transactions including, but not limited to, sales practices, credit transactions, secured transactions and warranties; all matters arising under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Magnuson-Moss Act, the Truth in Lending Act, state statutes such as the ‘‘Little FTC’’ acts, and other analogous federal and state statutes.
(12) Corporate and business organizations: The practice of law dealing with all aspects of the formation, operation and dissolution of corporations, partnerships (general and limited), agency and other forms of business organizations.
(13) Corporate finance and securities: The practice of law dealing with all matters arising under the Securities Act of 1933, Securities Exchange Act of 1934, Investment Advisors Act (or the Federal Securities Code, if adopted) and other federal and state securities statutes; financing corporate activities; mergers and acquisitions; practice before the Securities and Exchange Commission and state securities commissions.
(14) Criminal: The practice of law dealing with the prosecution or representation of persons accused of crimes at all stages of criminal proceedings in federal or state courts including, but not limited to, the protection of the accused’s constitutional rights.
(15) Elder law: The practice of law involving the counseling and representation of older persons and their representatives relative to the legal aspects of health and long term care planning and financing; public benefits; alternative living arrangements and attendant residents’ rights under state and federal law; special needs counseling; surrogate decision making; decision making capacity; conservatorships; conservation, disposition, and administration of the estates of older persons and the implementation of decisions of older persons and their representatives relative to the foregoing with due consideration to the applicable tax consequences of an action, involving, when appropriate, consultation and collaboration with professionals in related disciplines. Lawyers certified in elder law must be capable of recognizing issues that arise during counseling and representation of older persons or their representatives with respect to the following: Abuse, neglect or exploitation of older persons; estate, trust, and tax planning; other probate matters. Elder law specialists must be capable of recognizing the professional conduct and ethical issues that arise during representation.
(16) Environmental: The practice of law dealing with all aspects of the regulation of environmental quality by both federal and state governments; control of air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, toxic substances, pesticides, and civilian uses of nuclear energy; solid waste/resource recovery; all matters arising under the National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Air Act, Federal Water Pollution Control Act, Noise Control Act, Solid Waste Disposal Act, Toxic Substance Control Act and other federal and state environmental statutes; practice before federal and state courts and governmental agencies.
(17) Estate planning and probate: The practice of law dealing with all aspects of the analysis and planning for the conservation and disposition of estates, giving due consideration to the applicable tax consequences, both federal and state; the preparation of legal instruments in order to effectuate estate plans; administering estates, including tax related matters, both federal and state.
(18) Family and matrimonial: The practice of law dealing with all aspects of antenuptial and domestic relationships, separation and divorce, alimony and child support, distribution of assets, child custody matters and adoption, giving due consideration to the tax consequences, and court proceedings relating thereto.
(19) Government contracts and claims: The practice of law dealing with all aspects of the negotiation and administration of contracts with federal and state governmental agencies.
(20) Immigration and naturalization: The practice of law dealing with obtaining and retaining permission to enter and remain in the United States including, but not limited to, such matters as visas, change of status, deportation and naturalization; representation of aliens before courts and governmental agencies; protection of aliens’ constitutional rights.
(21) International: The practice of law dealing with all aspects of the relations among states, international business transactions, international taxation, customs and trade law and foreign and comparative law.
(22) Labor: The practice of law dealing with all aspects of employment relations (public and private) including, but not limited to, unfair labor practices, collective bargaining, contract administration, the rights of individual employees and union members, employment discrimination; all matters arising under the National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act), Labor Management Relations Act (Taft-Hartley Act), Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (Landrum-Griffin Act), Fair Labor Standards Act, Title VII of The Civil Rights Act of 1964, Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), other federal statutes and analogous state statutes; practice before the National Labor Relations Board, analogous state boards, federal and state courts, and arbitrators.
(23) Military: The practice of law dealing with the presentation of parties before courts-martial and other military tribunals in disputes arising under the Uniform Code of Military Justice; the representation of veterans and their dependents in seeking government benefits due to them on account of military service; handling civil law problems of the military.
(24) Natural resources: The practice of law dealing with all aspects of the regulation of natural resources such as coal, oil, gas, minerals, water and public lands; the rights and responsibilities relating to the ownership and exploitation of such natural resources.
(25) Patent, trademark and copyright: The practice of law dealing with all aspects of the registration, protection and licensing of patents, trademarks or copyrights; practice before federal and state courts in actions for infringement and other actions; the prosecution of applications before the United States Patent and Trademark Office; counseling with regard to the law of unfair competition as it relates to patents, trademarks and copyrights.
(26) (A) Residential real estate: The practice of law dealing with all aspects of real property transactions involving single one-to-four family residential dwellings when the client uses such dwelling or expresses in writing the intent to use such dwelling as the client’s primary or other residence including, but not limited to, real estate conveyances, title searches and property transfers, leases, condominiums, cooperatives, and other common interest communities, planned unit developments, mortgages, condemnation and eminent domain, zoning and land use planning, property taxes, and determination of property rights.
(B) Commercial real estate: The practice of law dealing with all aspects of real property transactions except for residential real estate as defined in subparagraph (A) of this subdivision, including, but not limited to, real estate conveyances, title searches and property transfers, leases, condominiums, cooperatives and other common interest communities, planned unit developments, mortgages, condemnation and eminent domain, zoning and land use planning, property taxes, real estate development and financing (with due consideration to tax and securities consequences) and determination of property rights.
(27) Taxation: The practice of law dealing with all matters arising under the Internal Revenue Code, Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), state and local tax laws and foreign tax laws, including counseling with respect thereto; practice before federal and state courts and governmental agencies.
(28) Workers’ compensation: The practice of law dealing with the representation of parties before federal and state agencies, boards and courts in actions to determine eligibility for workers’ compensation, and disability.
(P.B. 1978-1997, Rule 7.4A.) (Amended June 20, 2005, to take effect Jan. 1, 2006; amended June 29, 2007, to take effect Jan. 1, 2008; amended June 30, 2008, to take effect, Jan. 1, 2009; amended June 13, 2014, to take effect Jan. 1, 2015; amended June 13, 2019, to take effect Jan. 1, 2020.)
(a) The chief justice, upon recommendation of the Rules Committee of the Superior Court, shall appoint a committee of five members of the bar of this state which shall be known as the ‘‘Legal Specialization Screening Committee.’’ The Rules Committee of the Superior Court shall designate one appointee as chair of the Legal Specialization Screening Committee and another as vice chair to act in the absence or disability of the chair.
(b) When the committee is first selected, two of its members shall be appointed for a term of one year, two members for a term of two years, and one member for a term of three years, and thereafter all regular terms shall be three years. Terms shall commence on July 1. In the event that a vacancy arises in this position before the end of a term, the chief justice, upon recommendation of the Rules Committee of the Superior Court, shall appoint a member of the bar of this state to fill the vacancy for the balance of the term. The Legal Specialization Screening Committee shall act only with a concurrence of a majority of its members, provided, however, that three members shall constitute a quorum.
(c) The Legal Specialization Screening Committee shall have the power and duty to:
(1) Receive applications from boards or other entities for authority to certify lawyers practicing in this state as being specialists in a certain area or areas of law.
(2) Investigate each applicant to determine whether it meets the criteria set forth in Rule 7.4A (a).
(3) Submit to the Rules Committee of the Superior Court a written recommendation, with reasons therefor, for approval or disapproval of each application, or for the termination of any prior approval granted by the Rules Committee.
(4) Adopt regulations and develop forms necessary to carry out its duties under this section. The regulations and forms shall not become effective until first approved by the Rules Committee of the Superior Court.
(5) Consult with such persons deemed by the committee to be knowledgeable in the fields of law to assist it in carrying out its duties. (P.B. 1978-1997, Rule 7.4B.)
Any board or entity seeking the approval of the Rules Committee of the Superior Court for authority to certify lawyers practicing in this state as being specialists in a certain field or fields of law as set forth in Rule 7.4A (e), shall file its application with the Legal Specialization Screening Committee pursuant to Rule 7.4B on form JD-ES-63. The application materials shall be filed in a format prescribed by the Legal Specialization Screening Committee, which may require them to be filed electronically.
(P.B. 1978-1997, Rule 7.4.) (Amended June 30, 2008, to take effect Jan. 1, 2009; amended June 12, 2015, to take effect Jan. 1, 2016; amended June 13, 2019, to take effect Jan. 1, 2020.)
(a) A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent, the disclosure is impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation, or the disclosure is permitted by subsection (b), (c), or (d).
(b) A lawyer shall reveal such information to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary to prevent the client from committing a criminal or fraudulent act that the lawyer believes is likely to result in death or substantial bodily harm.
(c) A lawyer may reveal such information to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary to:
(1) Prevent the client from committing a criminal or fraudulent act that the lawyer believes is likely to result in substantial injury to the financial interest or property of another;
(2 )Prevent, mitigate or rectify the consequence of a client’s criminal or fraudulent act in the commission of which the lawyer’s services had been used;
(3) Secure legal advice about the lawyer’s compliance with these Rules;
(4) Comply with other law or a court order.
(5) Detect and resolve conflicts of interest arising from the lawyer’s change of employment or from changes in the composition or ownership of a firm, but only if the revealed information would not compromise the attorney-client privilege or otherwise prejudice the client.
(d) A lawyer may reveal such information to establish a claim or defense on behalf of the lawyer in a controversy between the lawyer and the client, to establish a defense to a criminal charge or civil claim against the lawyer based upon conduct in which the client was involved,or to respond to allegations in any proceeding concerning the lawyer’s representation of the client.
(e) A lawyer shall make reasonable efforts to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, or unauthorized access to, information relating to the representation of a client.
(P.B. 1978-1997, Rule 1.6.) (Amended June 26, 2006, to take effect Jan. 1, 2007; amended June 14, 2013, to take effect Jan. 1, 2014.)
 This Rule governs the disclosure by a lawyer of information relating to the representation of a client during the lawyer’s representation of the client. See Rule 1.18 for the lawyer’s duties with respect to information provided to the lawyer by a prospective client, Rule 1.9 (c) (2) for the lawyer’s duty not to reveal information relating to the lawyer’s prior representation of a former client and Rules 1.8 (b) and 1.9 (c)(1) for the lawyer’s duties with respect to the use of such information to the disadvantage of clients and former clients.
 A fundamental principle in the client-lawyer relationship is that, in the absence of the client’s informed consent, the lawyer must not reveal information relating to the representation.See Rule 1.0 (f) for the definition of informed consent. This contributes to the trust that is the hallmark of the client-lawyer relationship. The client is thereby encouraged to seek legal assistance and to communicate fully and frankly with the lawyer even as to embarrassing or legally damaging subject matter. The lawyer needs this information to represent the client effectively and,if necessary, to advise the client to refrain from wrongful conduct. Almost without exception, clients come to lawyers in order to determine their rights and what is, in the complex of laws and regulations, deemed to be legal and correct. Based upon experience, lawyers know that almost all clients follow the advice given, and the law is upheld.
 The principle of client-lawyer confidentiality is given effect by related bodies of law, the attorney-client privilege, the work product doctrine and the Rule of confidentiality established in professional ethics. The attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine apply in judicial and other proceedings in which a lawyer may be called as a witness or otherwise required to produce evidence concerning a client. The Rule of client-lawyer confidentiality applies in situations other than those where evidence is sought from the lawyer through compulsion of law. The confidentiality Rule, for example, applies not only to matters communicated in confidence by the client but also to all information relating to the representation, whatever its source. A lawyer may not disclose such information except as authorized or required by the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law. See also Scope.
 Subsection (a) prohibits a lawyer from revealing information relating to the representation of a client. This prohibition also applies to disclosures by a lawyer that do not in themselves reveal protected information but could reasonably lead to the discovery of such information by a third person. A lawyer’s use of a hypothetical to discuss issues relating to the representation is permissible so long as there is no reasonable likelihood that the listener will be able to ascertain the identity of the client or the situation involved.
 Except to the extent that the client’s instructions or special circumstances limit that authority, a lawyer is impliedly authorized to make disclosures about a client when appropriate in carrying out the representation. In some situations, for example, a lawyer may be impliedly authorized to admit a fact that cannot properly be disputed to make a disclosure that facilitates a satisfactory conclusion to a matter. Lawyers in a firm may, in the course of the firm’s practice, disclose to each other information relating to a client of the firm, unless the client has instructed that particular information be confined to specific lawyers.
Disclosure Adverse to Client
 Although the public interest is usually best served by a strict rule requiring lawyers to preserve the confidentiality of information relating to the representation of their clients, the confidentiality Rule is subject to limited exceptions. Subsection (b) recognizes the overriding value of life and physical integrity and requires disclosure in certain circumstances.
 Subsection (c) (1) is a limited exception to the Rule of confidentiality that permits the lawyer to reveal information to the extent necessary to enable affected persons or appropriate authorities to prevent the client from committing a crime or fraud, as defined in Rule 1.0 (e), that is likely to result in substantial injury to the financial or property interests of another. Such a serious abuse of the client-lawyer relationship by the client forfeits the protection of this Rule. The client can, of course, prevent such disclosure by refraining from the wrongful conduct. Although subsection(c)(1) does not require the lawyer to reveal the client’s misconduct, the lawyer may not counsel or assist the client in conduct the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent. See Rule 1.2 (d). See also Rule 1.16 with respect to the lawyer’s obligation or right to withdraw from the representation of the client in such circumstances, and Rule 1.13 (c), which permits the lawyer, where the client is an organization,to reveal information relating to the representation in limited circumstances.
 Subsection (c) (2) addresses the situation in which the lawyer does not learn of the client’s crime or fraud until after it has been consummated. Although the client no longer has the option of preventing disclosure by refraining from the wrongful conduct, there will be situations in which the loss suffered by the affected person can be prevented, rectified or mitigated. In such situations,the lawyer may disclose information relating to the representation to the extent necessary to enable the affected persons to prevent or mitigate reasonably certain losses or to attempt to recoup their losses. Subsection (c) (2) does not apply when a person who has committed a crime or fraud thereafter employs a lawyer for representation concerning that offense.
 A lawyer’s confidentiality obligations do not preclude a lawyer from securing confidential legal advice about the lawyer’s personal responsibility to comply with these Rules. In most situations, disclosing information to secure such advice will be impliedly authorized for the lawyer to carry out the representation. Even when the disclosure is not impliedly authorized, subsection (c) (3) permits such disclosure because of the importance of a lawyer’s compliance with the Rules of Professional Conduct. The lawyer’s right to disclose such information to a second lawyer pursuant to subsection (c) (3) does not give the second lawyer the duty or right to disclose such information under subsections (b), (c) and (d). The first lawyer’s client does not become the client of the second lawyer just because the first lawyer seeks the second lawyer’s advice under (c) (3).
 Subsection (c) (5) recognizes that lawyers in different firms may need to disclose limited information to each other to detect and resolve conflicts of interest, such as when a lawyer is considering an association with another firm, two or more firms are considering a merger, or a lawyer is considering the purchase of a law practice. See Rule1.17, commentary. Under these circumstances, lawyers and law firms are permitted to disclose limited information, but only once substantive discussions regarding the new relationship have occurred. Any such disclosure should ordinarily include no more than the identity of the persons and entities involved in a matter, a brief summary of the general issues involved, and information about whether the matter has terminated. Even this limited information, however, should be disclosed only to the extent reasonably necessary to detect and resolve conflicts of interest that might arise from the possible new relationship. Moreover, the disclosure of any information is prohibited if it would compromise the attorney-client privilege or otherwise prejudice the client (e.g., the fact that a corporate client is seeking advice on a corporate takeover that has not been publicly announced, that a person consulted a lawyer about the possibility of divorce before the person’s intentions are known to the person’s spouse, or that a person has consulted a lawyer about a criminal investigation that has not led to a public charge). Under those circumstances, subsection (a) prohibits disclosure unless the client or former client gives informed consent. A lawyer’s fiduciary duty to the lawyer’s firm may also govern a lawyer’s conduct when exploring an association with another firm and is beyond the scope of these Rules. Any information disclosed pursuant to subsection (c)(5) may be used or further disclosed only to the extent necessary to detect and resolve conflicts of interest. Subsection (c) (5) does not restrict the use of information acquired by means independent of any disclosure pursuant to subsection (c) (5). Subsection (c) (5) also does not affect the disclosure of information within a law firm when the disclosure is otherwise authorized, such as when a lawyer in a firm discloses information to another lawyer in the same firm to detect and resolve conflicts of interest that could arise in connection with undertaking a new representation.
 Where a legal claim or disciplinary charge alleges complicity of the lawyer in a client’s conduct or other misconduct of the lawyer involving representation of the client, the lawyer may respond to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary to establish a defense. The same is true with respect to a claim involving the conduct or representation of a former client. Such a charge can arise in a civil, criminal, disciplinary or other proceeding and can be based on a wrong allegedly committed by the lawyer against the client or on a wrong alleged by a third person, for example, a person claiming to have been defrauded by the lawyer and client acting together. The lawyer’s right to respond arises when an assertion of such complicity has been made. Subsection (d) does not require the lawyer to await the commencement of an action or proceeding that charges such complicity,so that the defense may be established by responding directly to a third party who has made such an assertion. The right to defend also applies, of course, where a proceeding has been commenced.
 A lawyer entitled to a fee is permitted by subsection (d) to prove the services rendered in an action to collect it. This aspect of the rule expresses the principle that the beneficiary of a fiduciary relationship may not exploit it to the detriment of the fiduciary.
 Other law may require that a lawyer disclose information about a client. Whether such a law supersedes Rule 1.6 is a question of law beyond the scope of these Rules. When disclosure of information relating to the representation appears to be required by other law,the lawyer must discuss the matter with the client to the extent required by Rule 1.4. If, however, the other law supersedes this Rule and requires disclosure, subsection (c)(4)permits the lawyer to make such disclosures as are necessary to comply with the law.
 A lawyer may be ordered to reveal information relating to the representation of a client by a court or by another tribunal or governmental entity claiming authority pursuant to other law to compel the disclosure. Absent informed consent of the client to do otherwise, the lawyer should assert on behalf of the client all non-frivolous claims that the order is not authorized by other law or that the information sought is protected against disclosure by the attorney-client privilege or other applicable law. In the event of an adverse ruling, the lawyer must consult with the client about the possibility of appeal to the extent required by Rule 1.4. Unless review is sought, however, subsection (c) (4) permits the lawyer to comply with the court’s order.
 Subsection (b) requires and subsection (c) permits disclosure only to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes the disclosure is necessary to accomplish one of the purposes specified. Where practicable, the lawyer should first seek to persuade the client to take suitable action to obviate the need for disclosure.In any case, a disclosure adverse to the client’s interest should be no greater than the lawyer reasonably believes necessary to accomplish the purpose. If the disclosure will be made in connection with a judicial proceeding, the disclosure should be made in a manner that limits access to the information to the tribunal or other persons having a need to know it and appropriate protective orders or other arrangements should be sought by the lawyer to the fullest extent practicable.
 Subsection (c) permits but does not require the disclosure of information relating to a client’s representation to accomplish the purposes specified in subsections (c) (1) through (c) (4). In exercising the discretion conferred by this Rule, the lawyer may consider such factors as the nature of the lawyer’s relationship with the client and with those who might be injured by the client, the lawyer’s own involvement in the transaction and factors that may extenuate the conduct in question. A lawyer’s decision not to disclose as permitted by subsection (c) does not violate this Rule. Disclosure may be required, however, by other Rules. Some Rules require disclosure only if such disclosure would be permitted by subsection (b). See Rules 1.2 (d), 4.1 (b), 8.1 and 8.3. Rule 3.3, on the other hand, requires disclosure in some circumstances regardless of whether such disclosure is permitted by this Rule.See Rule 3.3 (c).
Acting Competently To Preserve Confidentiality
 Subsection (e) requires a lawyer to act competently to safeguard information relating to the representation of a client against inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure by the lawyer or other persons who are participating in the representation of the client or who are subject to the lawyer’s supervision. See Rules 1.1, 5.1 and 5.3. The unauthorized access to, or the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of, information relating to the representation of a client does not constitute a violation of subsection (e) if the lawyer has made reasonable efforts to prevent the access or disclosure. Factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of the lawyer’s efforts include, but are not limited to, the sensitivity of the information, the likelihood of disclosure if additional safeguards are not employed, the cost of employing additional safeguards, the difficulty of implementing the safeguards, and the extent to which the safeguards adversely affect the lawyer’s ability to represent clients (e.g.,by making a device or important piece of software excessively difficult to use). A client may require the lawyer to implement special security measures not required by this Rule or may give informed consent to forgo security measures that would otherwise be required by this Rule. Whether a lawyer maybe required to take additional steps to safeguard a client’s information in order to comply with other law,such as state and federal laws that govern data privacy or that impose notification requirements upon the loss of, or unauthorized access to, electronic information, is beyond the scope of these Rules. For a lawyer’s duties when sharing information with nonlawyers outside the lawyer’s own firm, see Rule 5.3, commentary.
 When transmitting a communication that includes information relating to the representation of a client, the lawyer must take reasonable precautions to prevent the information from coming into the hands of unintended recipients. This duty, however, does not require that the lawyer use special security measures if the method of communication affords a reasonable expectation of privacy. Special circumstances, however, may warrant special precautions. Factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of the lawyer’s expectation of confidentiality include the sensitivity of the information and the extent to which the privacy of the communication is protected by law or by a confidentiality agreement. A client may require the lawyer to implement special security measures not required by this Rule or may give informed consent to the use of a means of communication that would otherwise be prohibited by this Rule. Whether a lawyer may be required to take additional steps in order to comply with other law, such as state and federal laws that govern data privacy, is beyond the scope of these Rules.
 The duty of confidentiality continues after the client-lawyer relationship has terminated. See Rule 1.9 (c) (2). See Rule 1.9 (c) (1) for the prohibition against using such information to the disadvantage of the former client.
(a) Any attorney who advertises services to the public through any media, electronic or otherwise, or through written or recorded communication pursuant to Rule 7.2 of the Rules of Professional Conduct shall file a copy of each such advertisement or communication with the Statewide Grievance Committee either prior to or concurrently with the attorney’s first dissemination of the advertisement or written or recorded communication,
except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) herein. The materials shall be filed in a format prescribed by the Statewide Grievance Committee, which may require them to be filed electronically. Any such submission in a foreign language must include an accurate English language translation.
The filing shall consist of the following:
(1) A copy of the advertisement or communication in the form or forms in which it is to be disseminated (e.g., videotapes, DVDs, audiotapes, compact discs, print media, photographs of outdoor advertising);
(2) A transcript, if the advertisement or communication is in video or audio format;
(3) A list of domain names used by the attorney primarily to offer legal services, which shall be updated quarterly;
(4) A sample envelope in which the written communication will be enclosed, if the communication is to be mailed;
(5) A statement listing all media in which the advertisement or communication will appear, the anticipated frequency of use of the advertisement or communication in each medium in which it will appear, and the anticipated time period during which the advertisement or communication will be used.
(b) The filing requirements of subsection (a) do not extend to any of the following materials:
(1) An advertisement in the public media that contains only, in whole or in part, the following information, provided the information is not false or misleading:
(A) The name of the lawyer or law firm, a listing of lawyers associated with the firm, office addresses and telephone numbers, office and telephone service hours, fax numbers, website and e-mail addresses and domain names, and a designation such as ‘‘attorney’’ or ‘‘law firm’’;
(B) Date of admission to the Connecticut bar and any other bars and a listing of federal courts and jurisdictions where the lawyer is licensed to practice;
(C) Technical and professional licenses granted by the state or other recognized licensing authorities;
(D) Foreign language ability;
(E) Fields of law in which the lawyer practices or is designated, subject to the requirements of Rule 7.1, or is certified pursuant to Rule 7.4A;
(F) Prepaid or group legal service plans in which the lawyer participates;
(G) Acceptance of credit cards;
(H) Fee for initial consultation and fee schedule; and
(1) A listing of the name and geographic location of a lawyer or law firm as a sponsor of a public service announcement or charitable, civic or community program or event.
(2) An advertisement in a telephone directory;
(3) A listing or entry in a regularly published law list;
(4) An announcement card stating new or changed associations, new offices, or similar changes relating to an attorney or firm, or a tombstone professional card;
(5) A communication sent only to:
(A) Existing or former clients;
(B) Other attorneys or professionals; business organizations including trade groups; not-forprofit organizations; governmental bodies and/or
(C) Members of a not-for-profit organization that meets the following conditions: the primary purposes of the organization do not include the rendition of legal services; the recommending, furnishing, paying for or educating persons regarding legal services is incidental and reasonably related to the primary purposes of the organization; the organization does not derive a financial benefit from the rendition of legal services by an attorney; and the person for whom the legal services are
rendered, and not the organization, is recognized as the client of the attorney who is recommended, furnished, or paid for by the organization.
(6) Communication that is requested by a prospective client.
(7) The contents of an attorney’s Internet website that appears under any of the domain names submitted pursuant to subdivision (3) of subsection (a).
(c) If requested by the Statewide Grievance Committee, an attorney shall promptly submit information to substantiate statements or representations made or implied in any advertisement in the public media and/or written or recorded communications.
(d) The statewide bar counsel shall review advertisements and communications filed pursuant to this section that have been selected for such review on a random basis. If after such review the statewide bar counsel determines that an advertisement or communication does not comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct, the statewide bar counsel shall in writing advise the attorney responsible for the advertisement or communication of the noncompliance and shall attempt to resolve the matter with such attorney. If the matter is not resolved to the satisfaction of the statewide bar counsel, he or she shall forward the
advertisement or communication and a statement describing the attempt to resolve the matter to the Statewide Grievance Committee for review. If, after reviewing the advertisement or communication, the Statewide Grievance Committee determines that it violates the Rules of Professional Conduct, it shall forward a copy of its file to the
disciplinary counsel and direct the disciplinary counsel to file a presentment against the attorney in the Superior Court.
(e) The procedure set forth in subsection (d) shall apply only to advertisements and communications that are reviewed as part of the random review process. If an advertisement or communication comes to the attention of the statewide bar counsel other than through that process, it shall be handled pursuant to the grievance procedure that is set forth in Section 2-29 et seq.
(f) The materials required to be filed by this section shall be retained by the Statewide Grievance Committee for a period of one year from the date of their filing, unless, at the expiration of the one year period, there is pending before the Statewide Grievance Committee, a reviewing committee, or the court a proceeding concerning such materials, in which case the materials that are the subject of the proceeding shall be retained until the expiration of the proceeding or for such other period as may be prescribed by the Statewide Grievance Committee.
(g) Except for records filed in court in connection with a presentment brought pursuant to subsection (d), records maintained by the statewide bar counsel, the Statewide Grievance Committee and/or the Disciplinary Counsel’s Office pursuant to this section shall not be public. Nothing in this rule shall prohibit the use or consideration of such records in any subsequent disciplinary or client security fund proceeding and such records shall be available in such proceedings to a judge of the Superior Court or to the standing committee on recommendations for admission to the bar, to disciplinary counsel, to the statewide bar counsel or
assistant bar counsel, or, with the consent of the respondent, to any other person, unless otherwise ordered by the court.
(h) Violation of subsections (a) or (c) shall constitute misconduct.
(Adopted June 26, 2006, to take effect July 1, 2007;
amended June 21, 2010, to take effect Jan. 1, 2011; amended June 13, 2019, to take effect Jan. 1, 2020.)
HISTORY—2020: Prior to 2020, subsection (b) (1) read: ‘‘An advertisement in the public media that contains only the information, in whole or in part, contained in Rule 7.2 (i) of the Rules of Professional Conduct, provided the information is not false or misleading.’’ In addition, the semicolon at the end of subsection (b) (1) was replaced with a colon and subparagraphs (A) through (I) were added thereafter.
COMMENTARY—2020: The following revisions were made to incorporate the 2018 amendments to the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct concerning attorney advertising: Amendments to Rules 7.1 through 7.3, Rule 7.4A, and Section 2-28A and the repeal of Rules 7.4 and 7.5.
(a) An attorney who desires to secure an advance advisory opinion concerning compliance with the Rules of Professional Conduct of a contemplated advertisement or communication may submit to the Statewide Grievance Committee, not less than 30 days prior to the date of first dissemination, the material specified in Section 2-
28A (a) accompanied by a fee established by the chief court administrator. It shall not be necessary to submit a videotape or DVD if the videotape or DVD has not then been prepared and the production script submitted reflects in detail and accurately the actions, events, scenes, and background sounds that will be depicted or contained on such videotapes or DVDs, when prepared, as well as the narrative transcript of the verbal and printed portions of such advertisement.
(b) An advisory opinion shall be issued, without a hearing, by the Statewide Grievance Committee or by a reviewing committee assigned by the Statewide Grievance Committee. Such reviewing committee shall consist of at least three members of the Statewide Grievance Committee, at least one-third of whom are not attorneys.
(c) An advisory opinion issued by the Statewide Grievance Committee or a reviewing committee finding noncompliance with the Rules of Professional Conduct is not binding in a disciplinary proceeding, but a finding of compliance is binding in favor of the submitting attorney in a disciplinary proceeding if the representations, statements, materials, facts and written assurances received in connection therewith are not false or misleading. The finding constitutes admissible evidence if offered by a party. If a request for an advisory opinion is made within 60 days of the effective date of this section, the Statewide Grievance Committee or reviewing committee shall issue its advisory opinion within 45 days of the filing of the request. Thereafter, the Statewide Grievance Committee or reviewing committee shall issue its advisory opinion within 30 days of the filing of the request. For purposes of this section, an advisory opinion is issued on the date notice of the opinion is transmitted to the attorney who requested it pursuant to subsection (a) herein.
(d) If requested by the Statewide Grievance Committee or a reviewing committee, the attorney seeking an advisory opinion shall promptly submit information to substantiate statements or representations made or implied in such attorney’s advertisement. The time period set forth in subsection (c) herein shall be tolled from the date of the committee’s request to the date the requested information is filed with the committee.
(e) If an advisory opinion is not issued by the Statewide Grievance Committee or a reviewing committee within the time prescribed in this section, the advertisement or communication for which the opinion was sought shall be deemed to be in compliance with the Rules of Professional Conduct.
(f) If, after receiving an advisory opinion finding that an advertisement or communication violates the Rules of Professional Conduct, the attorney disseminates such advertisement or communication, the Statewide Grievance Committee, upon receiving notice of such dissemination, shall forward a copy of its file concerning the matter to the disciplinary counsel and direct the disciplinary counsel to file a presentment against the attorney in the Superior Court.
(g) Except for advisory opinions, all records maintained by the Statewide Grievance Committee pursuant to this section shall not be public. Advisory opinions issued pursuant to this section shall not be public for a period of 30 days from the date of their issuance. During that 30 day period the advisory opinion shall be available only to the attorney who requested it pursuant to subsection (a), to the Statewide Grievance Committee or its counsel, to reviewing committees, to grievance panels, to disciplinary counsel, to a judge of the Superior Court, and, with the consent of the attorney who requested the opinion, to any other person. Nothing in this rule shall prohibit the use or consideration of such records in any subsequent disciplinary or client security fund proceeding and such records shall be available in such proceedings to a judge of the Superior Court or to the standing committee on recommendations for admission to the bar, to disciplinary counsel, to the statewide bar counsel or assistant bar counsel, or, with the consent of the respondent, to any other person, unless otherwise ordered by the court.
(Adopted June 26, 2006, to take effect July 1, 2007.)
*This information is provided as a convenience to the viewers of this material. Viewers should conduct their own research or rely on the advice of a lawyer before relying on the information here.