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.
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