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Connecticut Bar Rules for Attorney Advertising

Navigating the Connecticut Bar advertising rules can be tricky. If you make a mistake, you might expose yourself to disciplinary actions. For this reason, it is important for Connecticut attorneys to hire an internet marketing company that understands the applicable bar rules in Connecticut.

If you are preparing to launch a new website or start a new internet marketing strategy, the first step is reading all of the bar rules that might apply. The Connecticut Rules of Professional Conduct were created to ensure that all attorneys that advertise online do so in a fair and honest manner.

In many respects, the rules track closely with the Model Rules from the American Bar Association. Before you redesign your law firm's website or start a new internet marketing campaign, it's important that you have a thorough understanding of applicable bar rules.

If you are interested in finding an internet marketing and website design company that understands the bar rules, then contact our parent company, Internet Lava, LLC. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss designing a better website and internet marketing strategy.

Additional Resources for Attorney Advertising in Connecticut

Frequently Asked Questions in Connecticut on Attorney Advertising - Visit the website of the Connecticut Judicial Brand Statewide Grievance Committee to find frequently asked questions about attorney advertising, the mandatory filing rules (for TV ads, the yellow pages, mailers, and internet marketing websites), and whether the advertisement is exempt from filing. 

Random Review of Advertisements in Connecticut - Find information on the procedures for the random review of attorney advertisements in Connecticut including the negotiation of a resolution if a concern is found.

Advertising Advisory Opinions in Connecticut - Read the advisory opinions issued by the Connecticut Statewide Grievance Committee from July 17, 2007, through May 27, 2014.

Definition of "Attorney Advertisements" in Connecticut

Under the Connecticut Bar Rules, attorney advertising includes any communication made by a lawyer about the lawyer concerning the legal services offered by the firm. Additionally, attorneys in Connecticut must comply with certain filing requirements.

For instance, on a quarterly basis, attorneys must provide the domain names or URLs of websites or social media profiles used primarily to advertise legal services.

Mandatory Filing Rules Regarding Attorney Advertisements

Under Sections 2-28A and Rule 14 of the Connecticut Statewide Grievance Committee Rules of Procedure, attorneys are generally required to file a copy of a legal advertisement with the Statewide Grievance Committee just before or at the same time that it is first disseminated.

The attorney is not required to obtain approval in advance of the advertising. The attorney must file a copy of the legal advertisement electronically through Connecticut Judicial Branch E-Services. Certain limited exceptions apply as discussed below.

Because of technical restrictions, certain types of multi-media advertisements must be filed by non-electronic means.

Exemptions from the Mandatory Filing Requirements

As a general rule, the attorney is only required to file the domain names on a quarterly basis of websites used by attorneys primarily to offer legal services. Therefore, websites or social media profiles that are used by the attorney primarily for personal purposes do not need to be provided.

Other exemptions from the mandatory filing rule are found in Section 2-28A(b) of the Connecticut Practice Book. Those exemptions include:

  • Communication that is requested by a prospective client (often called "information upon request");
  • Any communication sent only to:
    • Existing or former clients;
    • Other attorneys or professionals; business organizations including trade groups; not-for-profit organizations; governmental bodies and/or
    • 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.
  • 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;
  • Any listing or entry in a regularly published law list;
  • Any advertisement in a telephone directory; or
  • Any announcement card stating new or changed associations, new offices, or similar changes relating to an attorney or firm, or a tombstone professional card.

Random Reviews of Lawyer Ads in Connecticut

The law firm must select an attorney whose juris number will be listed as being responsible for the filed advertisement. After the advertisement is electronically file, it may be randomly selected for review to ensure compliance with ethical standards.

The filed advertisement be subject to random review for three (3) months after the filing. If the filed advertisement is selected, then the Statewide Grievance Committee will provide written notice to the attorney. If, during the review, the Statewide Grievance Committee concludes that there is a violation of ethical rules then the attorney will be contacted to negotiate a resolution to the claimed violation.

If the attorney agrees to the resolution then it will not be considered a disciplinary finding. If the claimed violation cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the Statewide Grievance Committee then the issue will be referred to the Chief Disciplinary Counsel's office for a presentment.