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Statewide Grievance Committee
Statewide Bar Counsel

For the Public - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I’m not sure I want to file a grievance complaint. Is there anything else I can do about my attorney?
  2. Is there any charge to file a grievance complaint?
  3. Can I withdraw a grievance complaint?
  4. What is my role in the grievance process?
  5. I think my attorney charged too much money. Will you reimburse me if I file a grievance complaint?
  6. Where can I go to negotiate a fee dispute?
  7. Who can I complain about?
  8. Can you find me a new attorney?
  9. How do I choose a lawyer?
  10. How do I check whether my attorney has been disciplined?
  11. What is the discipline process?
  12. Why should I have a lawyer?


1. I’m not sure I want to file a grievance complaint Is there anything else I can do about my attorney?  
Yes. You can call and write to the attorney and explain why you are unhappy. You and the attorney may be able to work out your disagreement. If the attorney is holding your money, he or she must provide you with an accounting at your request, even if you are not the client. If you have hired new counsel, your former attorney should give your new attorney a copy of your file, although in some cases if you owe the attorney money, they can withhold the file.

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2. Is there any charge to file a grievance complaint?  
No. It is free to file a grievance complaint. If you file a grievance complaint against your attorney, it may affect your relationship and the attorney, in many cases, may stop working for you.

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3. Can I withdraw a grievance complaint?
No. The grievance process is an investigation done by the court into an attorney’s conduct. You may tell the grievance panel about why you no longer want to complain about the attorney, but you cannot stop the investigation. Please note that it is improper for an attorney to require you to withdraw your grievance complaint or not to cooperate with the investigation in order to settle your dispute.

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4. What is my role in the grievance process? 
After you file a complaint, you are called the Complainant. You can provide useful information to the grievance panel investigating the complaint. If probable cause is found, you can help disciplinary counsel establish the case against the attorney. Disciplinary counsel does not have to call you as a witness at the public hearing, but if probable cause of misconduct was found you are entitled to make a statement to the Statewide Grievance Committee.

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5. I think my attorney charged too much money. Will you reimburse me if I file a grievance complaint? 
No. The grievance process is an investigation to decide if an attorney is guilty of misconduct. In some cases, the committee can order the attorney to pay you restitution. The committee can also order an attorney to take part in fee arbitration.

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6. Where can I go to negotiate a fee dispute?
The Connecticut Bar Association offers a low cost fee mediation or arbitration to resolve fee disputes. The CBA can only perform a mediation or arbitration if both parties agree to use the service.

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7. Who can I complain about?  
This office accepts grievance complaints against individual attorneys. We do not accept grievance complaints against judges, probate judges, or state employees. We do not accept complaints against state employees, who are also attorneys, if the complaint involves their official duties or decisions they made.

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8. Can you find me a new attorney?  
No. Because this office investigates and disciplines attorney, it would be a conflict for us to provide you with the name of an attorney that can help you with your legal problems. You can contact a private bar association for a referral.

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9. How do I choose a lawyer?
 
Word of mouth. Talk to your friends or relatives about a lawyer they may have used and who they can recommend. Call the local bar association lawyer referral program for your area, listed below. The programs charge a fee for a referral.

 Location Telephone Number
 Fairfield County (203) 335-4116
 Hartford, Litchfield, Middlesex, Tolland and Windham Counties (860) 525-6052
 New Haven County (203) 562-5750
 New London County (860) 889-9384

If you have a low income and you have been arrested, you may qualify for an attorney through the public defender's office. Apply at the public defender's office, located in each courthouse handling criminal cases, on your first court date.

If you have a low income and have a civil case (for example, divorce, landlord/tenant, child support), call Statewide Legal Services at 1-800-453-3320 (860-344-0380 for the Middletown area) for a lawyer or referral to a lawyer who may help you for free or for a reduced fee.

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10. How do I check whether my attorney has been disciplined?

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11. What is the discipline process?  
See Discipline Process Frequently Asked Questions.

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12. Why should I have a lawyer? 
Lawyers are trained legal professionals who can explain the laws to you; help you evaluate your options; negotiate or mediate conflicts with other people; prepare letters, court forms or other legal documents for you; and represent you in court. Many lawyers offer a free (or minimal fee) initial consultation

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