Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 454

February Session, 2012

 

LCO No. 2582

 

*02582_______JUD*

Referred to Committee on Judiciary

 

Introduced by:

 

(JUD)

 

AN ACT CONCERNING THE UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 51-88 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2012):

(a) [A] Unless a person is providing legal services pursuant to statute or rule of court, a person who has not been admitted as an attorney under the provisions of section 51-80, or having been admitted under said section, has been disqualified from the practice of law due to resignation, disbarment, being placed on inactive status or suspension for reason other than the failure to pay the occupational tax on attorneys imposed pursuant to section 51-81b or the client security fund fee imposed pursuant to section 51-81d, shall not: (1) Practice law or appear as an attorney-at-law for another, in any court of record in this state, (2) make it a business to practice law, or appear as an attorney-at-law for another in any such court, (3) make it a business to solicit employment for an attorney-at-law, (4) hold himself or herself out to the public as being entitled to practice law, (5) assume to be an attorney-at-law, (6) assume, use or advertise the title of lawyer, attorney and counselor-at-law, attorney-at-law, counselor-at-law, attorney, counselor, attorney and counselor, or an equivalent term, in such manner as to convey the impression that he or she is a legal practitioner of law, or (7) advertise that he or she, either alone or with others, owns, conducts or maintains a law office, or office or place of business of any kind for the practice of law.

(b) (1) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be guilty of a class C felony, except that any person who violates any provision of this section and is admitted to practice law before the highest court of original jurisdiction in any state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or a territory of the United States or in a district court of the United States and is a member in good standing of such bar shall be fined not more than two hundred [and] fifty dollars or imprisoned not more than two months, or both, unless such person is an employee described in subdivision (2) of this subsection.

(2) The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to any employee in this state of a stock or nonstock corporation, partnership, limited liability company or other business entity who, within the scope of his or her employment, renders legal advice to his or her employer or its corporate affiliate and who is admitted to practice law before the highest court of original jurisdiction in any state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or a territory of the United States or in a district court of the United States and is a member in good standing of such bar. For the purposes of this [subsection] subdivision, "employee" means any person engaged in service to an employer in the business of his or her employer, but does not include an independent contractor.

(c) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be deemed in contempt of court, and the Superior Court shall have jurisdiction in equity upon the petition of any member of the bar of this state in good standing or upon its own motion to restrain such violation.

(d) The provisions of this section shall not be construed as prohibiting: (1) A town clerk from preparing or drawing deeds, mortgages, releases, certificates of change of name and trade name certificates which are to be recorded or filed in the town clerk's office in the town in which the town clerk holds office; (2) any person from practicing law or pleading at the bar of any court of this state in his or her own cause; (3) any person from acting as an agent or representative for a party in an international arbitration, as defined in subsection (3) of section 50a-101; or (4) any attorney admitted to practice law in any other state or the District of Columbia from practicing law in relation to an impeachment proceeding pursuant to Article Ninth of the Connecticut Constitution, including an impeachment inquiry or investigation, if the attorney is retained by (A) the General Assembly, the House of Representatives, the Senate, a committee of the House of Representatives or the Senate, or the presiding officer at a Senate trial, or (B) an officer subject to impeachment pursuant to said Article Ninth.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2012

51-88

Statement of Purpose:

To clarify the elements of the offense of unlicensed practice of law and increase the penalty for such offense.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]