Substitute House Bill No. 5432

Public Act No. 99-179

An Act Concerning the Government Attorney-Client Privilege and Written Communications by Attorneys to Prospective Clients.

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

Section 1. (NEW) (a) As used in this section:

(1) "Authorized representative" means an individual empowered by a public agency to assert the confidentiality of communications that are privileged under this section;

(2) "Confidential communications" means all oral and written communications transmitted in confidence between a public official or employee of a public agency acting in the performance of his or her duties or within the scope of his or her employment and a government attorney relating to legal advice sought by the public agency or a public official or employee of such public agency from that attorney, and all records prepared by the government attorney in furtherance of the rendition of such legal advice;

(3) "Government attorney" means a person admitted to the bar of this state and employed by a public agency or retained by a public agency or public official to provide legal advice to the public agency or a public official or employee of such public agency; and

(4) "Public agency" means "public agency" as defined in section 1-200 of the general statutes.

(b) In any civil or criminal case or proceeding or in any legislative or administrative proceeding, all confidential communications shall be privileged and a government attorney shall not disclose any such communications unless an authorized representative of the public agency consents to waive the privilege and allow such disclosure.

Sec. 2. Subsection (b) of section 51-87a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(b) Written communications to prospective clients known to be in need of legal services in a particular matter for the purpose of obtaining professional employment are subject to the following requirements:

(1) Each page of such written communications shall be plainly marked "advertisement" in red ink, and the lower left corner of the face of the envelope containing a written communication likewise shall carry a prominent, red "advertisement" mark. If the written communication is in the form of a self-mailing brochure or pamphlet, the "advertisement" mark in red ink shall appear on the address panel of the brochure or pamphlet. Brochures solicited by clients or prospective clients need not contain the "advertisement" mark;

(2) The lawyer shall retain a copy of each written communication for three years;

(3) Written communications mailed to prospective clients shall be sent only by regular United States mail, not by registered mail or other forms of restricted delivery;

(4) If a contract for representation is mailed with the written communication, the top of each page of the contract shall be marked "SAMPLE" in red ink in a type size one size larger than the largest type used in the contract and the words "DO NOT SIGN" shall appear on the client signature line;

(5) The first sentence of any written communication concerning a specific matter shall be: "If you have already retained a lawyer for this matter, please disregard this letter.";

(6) Written communications shall be on letter-sized paper rather than legal-sized paper and shall not be made to resemble legal pleadings or other legal documents. This provision does not preclude the mailing of brochures and pamphlets;

(7) If a lawyer other than the lawyer whose name or signature appears on the communication will actually handle the case or matter, or if the case or matter will be referred to another lawyer or law firm, any written communication concerning a specific matter shall include a statement so advising the client;

(8) Any written communication prompted by a specific occurrence involving or affecting the intended recipient of the communication or a family member shall disclose how the lawyer obtained the information prompting the communication; and

(9) A written communication seeking employment by a specific prospective client in a specific matter shall not reveal on the envelope, or on the outside of a self-mailing brochure or pamphlet, the nature of the client's legal problem.

Approved June 23, 1999