Pro Hac Vice in Connecticut, Part 1
This purpose of this article is to discuss the general parameters for getting admitted pro hac vice in Connecticut. Appearing in Connecticut state court as a visiting lawyer isn’t impossible, it requires attention to detail at the beginning and annual compliance until two years after the matter at issue is completed.
The Mechanics of Admission Pro Hac Vice in Connecticut
In order to appear pro hac vice, a Connecticut sponsoring lawyer will file a motion based on Conn. Prac. Bk. §2-16. While the procedure appears straightforward, it is full of nuance. Looking at Conn. Prac. Bk. §2-16, it is actually full of limitations. The visiting attorney must be in good standing with the bar of another state. The application for admission should not be habitual but, “upon special and infrequent occasion and for good cause shown.” Additionally, the scope of the visiting lawyer’s participation may be limited “by the discretion of the court to participate to such extent as the court may prescribe.”
In the amendments to the Practice Book effective January 1, 2017, the Judges of the Superior Court explicitly extended Conn. Prac. Bk. §2-16 to apply not just to any cause or appeal in state court but to include “proceeding(s) before any municipal or state agency, commission, board or tribunal” in Connecticut. While this was assumed to be the case without needing the explication in the Practice Book, the amendment eliminates any potential confusion. See Persels & Associates, LLC v. Banking Commissioner, 318 Conn. 652, 122 A.3d 592 (2015).
Until the amendments, there was no standard form that local counsel should file in order to sponsor the admission of a visiting lawyer, pro hac vice. The amendments to Conn. Prac. Bk. §2-16 refer to a new form but none has been forthcoming from the Chief Court Administrator as of the date of this article.
Cost of Admission
Admission pro hac vice in Connecticut is not cheap. A fee of $600 must be paid to the clerk of the Superior Court at the time any motion to appear pro hac vice is filed. This fee is per lawyer, per case. For example, if you need three lawyers admitted in two cases, the total fee would be $3,600, assuming that the court concludes that admission is “upon special and infrequent occasion and for good cause shown.” This is not the only fee associated with appearing pro hac vice in Connecticut.
All visiting lawyers admitted pro hac vice are required to pay the annual Client Security Fund fee of $75 dollars for each year that they appear in the specific matter and for two years following the conclusion of the matter. See Public Act 12-89 section 2. This fee is billed and paid separately and the failure to pay constitutes professional misconduct.
On top of the application fee and the client security fund, all visiting lawyers are subject to the Connecticut Attorney Occupational Tax. The Attorney Occupational Tax was first levied against Connecticut Attorneys in 1972 and was $150 dollars per year. Now pegged at $595 per year (and rising), all visiting attorneys admitted pro hac vice must pay the Connecticut Attorney Occupational Tax each year during which they are admitted and active in the case and for two years thereafter.
Other Compliance Issues
You will need to register with the Statewide Grievance Committee each year in which you participate in the matter and for 2 years thereafter. When the 2 year period has passed you should notify the Statewide Grievance Committee in writing that you were allowed to appear pro hac vice, when the application was granted, your juris number, the name and docket number of the case and that 2 years have passed since your participation in the matter.
Simply put, your pro hac vice admission does not automatically end when the case is over. The pro hac vice attorney must register with the Statewide Grievance Committee every year until the juris number is deactivated. The juris number can be deactivated 2 years after the attorney’s role in the matter is completed. As discussed above, the attorney is subject to the attorney occupational tax until deactivation.
If the Court grants a pro hac vice application, the pro hac vice attorney will be sent a juris (identification) number and a registration form, which must be completed. The pro hac vice attorney will then be sent paper registration forms every year until the juris number is deactivated (2 years after the attorney’s role in the matter is completed). The juris number will only be deactivated when the attorney notifies the Statewide Bar Counsel, as set forth below. The Statewide Bar Counsel will send a letter notifying you that the juris number has been deactivated; you should save this letter for your records.
Complicated? Yes, but having local counsel familiar with this process makes all the difference.
Stay tuned for Part 2 in this series.
If you have a question or concern about appearing pro hac vice in state court or federal court in Connecticut, local counsel services, or appearing as a visiting lawyer before a state agency or in an arbitration proceeding, please feel free to call Attorney John Radshaw in New Haven today at (203) 654-9695. For more information about Attorney Radshaw and his practice, visit www.jjr-esq.com.