Under the leadership of Committee Chair John Logan, the Ethics Committee has made recently adopted ethics opinions available soon after adoption. Click here to go to the committee’s webpage. Scroll down to the bottom to see links to recently adopted opinions. Before this change was made there was a delay between the time the committee adopted opinions and the time those opinions were made generally available on Casemaker. This is a significant improvement to the process of self-regulation for which Mr. Logan and the committee deserve credit and thanks from the members of the Connecticut Bar.
That briefs filed with the Connecticut Supreme Court are available online is not breaking news. As a result of a cooperative arrangement between the Judicial Branch and the Appellate Advocacy Committee, beginning with the 2008 Term Supreme Court briefs are available online at a site named Supreme Court Briefs Online. The title of the site itself offers a valuable lesson to lawyers who write to persuade: there are no wasted words; every word counts (H/T Strunk & White, The Elements of Style.)
The site contains a clear explanation of how easy it is to find Supreme Court briefs by using the search The description is fine as far as it goes. But one search option, which works according to my recent tests, is to search by author. So, for example, if one wanted to find a brief written or co-written by one of the most well known appellate advocates in Connecticut, all one need do is type in his or her last name into the search bar and voila! Why does this matter? Well, there is always room to improve one’s advocacy oral and written. Thanks to the Appelate Advocacy’s Committee and the Judicial Department, a first rate resource for lawyers who want to learn and to improve is available online for free. Try it out. Enjoy. By the way, the briefs I’m especially looking forward to reading – not yet available – are in the case of Simms v. Seaman. For earlier, not particularly enlightening posts about Simms v. Seaman, click here and here.
The work of the Appellate Advocacy Committee in makng Supreme Court briefs available online is another example of lawyers contributing their time and expertise on a pro bono basis to better the profession. All lawyers should contribute to the profession in some way. No lawyers should take for granted the work that others do to. If you’re not a member of CBA and you are wondering what you can do to help the profession, one simple yet meaningful step would be to join the CBA. For more information about joining click here
From the agenda for the December 11, 2011 meeting of the Superior Court Rules Committee:
4-2. Proposal submitted by CBA President Gallant to amend Rule 1.10 of the Rules of Professional Conduct to provide a screening mechanism that would permit law firms to avoid imputed conflicts of interest triggered by attorneys making lateral moves from one law firm to another.
If the Superior Court Rules Committee adopts the CBA recommendation, Connecticut’s Rule 1.10 will be consistent with existing case law in Connecticut (see memorandum prepared by Attorney Marcy Stovall of Pullman Comley for the ethics committee) and will mirror ABA Rule 1.10.
CTLA’s principal argument against Jacoby & Meyers’ bid to have a federal court judge enjoin enforcement of the state court rule barring non-lawyer investment in law firms is that allowing non-lawyers to own law firms would spell the end of lawyer self-regulation ” by creating a class of persons [non-lawyer investors / owners] who would be in a position to control legal practices and yet would not fall under the authority of the Rules.” In other words, non-lawyer investors / owners would “incentivize” “their” lawyers to bring in money to the firm never mind the Rules. (Sound familiar?) CTLA argues that the grievance process currently protects PI clients (one hopes this argument is off the mark; and that what protects PI clients is lawyer self-regulation), but that the grievance process would be of no use against unscrupulous non-lawyer investors / owners. (But the grievance process would still provide “protection” against lawyer misconduct. And then there might be malpractice insurance. How would insurance companies underwrite malpractice risks for firms owned by non-lawyers?) If allowed to join the case as an amici, CTLA will surely develop their arguments, which are important.
For CTLA’s Memorandum In Support of its Motion for Permission to Join as Amicus Curiae click here.
Representing the CBA, Bill Clendenen of Clendenen & Shea in New Haven, filed the motion on September 13. A copy of the motion (to which is attached a copy of The Constitution of the Connecticut Bar Association, Inc. is attached) can be found here. This is a good development for two reasons: first, if the Court grants the motion it means that Connecticut lawyers who object to the plaintiff’s attempt to bypass the normal rule making process for the Rules of Professional Conduct in Connecticut will be represented and second because Bill Clendenen, who once, together with Dave Lesser, headed the Law Reform Section of the New Haven Legal Assistance Association, is a first rate litigator.
The litigation of this case is likely to be very expensive. Who is going to pay for it? This would be a good time for lawyers who do not belong to the CBA to join. The CBA is an integral part of the legal profession in Connecticut. It is hard to imagine what the profession would be like with the CBA and local bar associations. To one extent or another every lawyer who is licensed to practice in Connecticut benefits from work of the CBA and local bar associations. Lawyers who choose not to join may have their reasons but they nonetheless benefit from the CBA and local bar associations. Now would be a good time to pay one’s fair share by joining the CBA and one’s local bar association. While some lawyers ask “what’s in it for me?” a better question is “how can I contribute to the profession?” Among the good answers is this one: join the CBA and your local bar association. To join the CBA click here . For information about local and specialty bar associations click here.
UPDATE: Judge Droney granted the CBA’s Motion To Participate on September 14th, 2011.