USA - Connecticut International Trade in Legal Services

United States of America - Connecticut International Trade in Legal Services


Is there legislation governing the legal sector


Under what title do lawyers practise?

Attorney at law

How does an individual lawyer obtain a "licence" to practise law? How often must this be renewed?

An individual must have a JD, satisfy character and fitness to practice requirements, and have passed the bar exam. A candidate must be resident in the US to be licensed.

Does this entitle the holder to practise throughout the country? If the law license only permits one to practice on a sub-national level, please explain the jurisdictional limits

This only automatically entitles the holder to practise in Connecticut. The right to practise on a temporary basis in another state or to appear pro hac vice in another state depends on the explicit permission of that state.

Are there certain activities that are "reserved" to those who are licensed to practise law in the jurisdiction?



State Bar Association of Connecticut v. Connecticut Bank & Trust Co., 140 A.2d 863, 870 (1958).
The practice of law consists in no small part of work performed outside of any court and having no immediate relation to proceedings in court. It embraces the giving of legal advice on a large variety of subjects and the preparation of legal instruments covering an extensive field.

Do you need to hold local nationality to be eligible to practise law?


What legal forms can lawyers work in? (e.g. self employment, partnership, limited liability partnership, multi-disciplinary partnership, incorporation)

A lawyer may practise as a sole practitioner, in a general or limited liability partnership. Fee sharing with non-lawyers is prohibited.

What other ethical or regulatory requirements must a licensed lawyer comply with? 

The Connecticut code of professional conduct is found in the Connecticut Practice Book which is modelled on the ABA model code (see:

Do law firms need to receive a "license" (or permission/approval) to practice law?

Not from the Court but may be subject to other notification requirements depending on the form taken (e.g. limited liability company) and the local State code.

Which authority issues licences? Are there different authorities for individuals and firms? 

Licences are issued by the Connecticut Supreme Court.



Are there any explicit rules or restrictions other than visas on fly in fly out practice of law? Ie. Do you need to obtain a licence for temporary practice?

Rule 5.5 of the Connecticut Rules of Professional Conduct provide that a lawyer who is not admitted to practice in Connecticut, but who is admitted in another US jurisdiction that accords similar privileges to Connecticut lawyers, may provide legal services on a temporary basis in Connecticut

Can a foreign lawyer obtain a visa to visit clients or to market but not to practice?




Under the WTO commitments of the USA, an individual wishing to practise law on a fly in fly out basis in Connecticut would need to be fully admitted to the Connecticut Bar or to the Bar of another US State which offers reciprocal access. 'Service salespersons' are permitted to enter the USA for periods of up to 90 days. "Service salespersons" are "persons not based in the territory of the United States and receiving no remuneration from a source located within the United States, who are engaged in activities related to representing a services supplier for the purpose of negotiating for the sale of the services of that supplier where: a) such sales are not directly made to the general public and b) the salesperson is not engaged in supplying the service" Entry for persons named in this section is limited to a ninety-day period.

Can a foreign lawyer obtain a licence to establish and practise as a foreign legal consultant and what is the scope of this limited licence?

Yes - a foreign lawyer may be licensed as a foreign legal consultant (see Connecticut Rules of Court, Rules of Practice for the Superior Court, General Provisions, Chapter 2. Attorneys § 2-17, Superior Court Rules Regulating Admission To The Bar, Sections 2-17 To 2-21 CT R SUPER CT GEN § 2-17 (Effective 1991)). This permits the following scope of practice Section 2-19. —Scope of Practice of Foreign
Legal Consultants:
"A person licensed to practice as a foreign legal consultant under these rules is limited to advising Connecticut clients only on the law of the foreign country in which such person is admitted to practice law. Such person shall not:
(1) in any way hold himself or herself out as a member of the bar of the state of Connecticut; or
(2) Use in this state any title other than ‘‘Foreign Legal Consultant,’’ but in conjunction therewith may indicate the foreign country in which he or she is licensed to practice law."

Are there any conditions that must be fulfilled once a foreign lawyer has been granted a limited licence (e.g. residency requirement)

 An FLC in Connecticut must fulfil the following conditions once admitted, provide:
(A) a written commitment to observe the Connecticut Rules of Professional Conduct and other rules regulating the conduct of attorneys (B) an undertaking or appropriate evidence of professional liability insurance, in such amount as the court may prescribe, to assure the foreign legal consultant’s proper professional conduct and responsibility, (C) a duly acknowledged instrument in writing setting forth the foreign legal consultant’s address in the state of Connecticut or United States, and designating the clerk of the superior court for the judicial district of Hartford at Hartford as his or her agent upon whom process may be served."

Are there any conditions that must be fulfilled for a foreign lawyer to qualify for a limited licence? (e.g. prior practice)

Licensure is subject to meeting requirements of registration, a minimum age of 26 years, an experience requirement (5 of the 7 years preceding registration must have been spent practising law), and certification of registration, meeting the professional liability insurance requirement, an overdraft notification, good standing with home-country bar, and a written commitment to observe the Connecticut Rules of Professional Conduct.

Are foreign lawyers permitted to undertake arbitration and mediation?

The Connecticut code of conduct exempts other US lawyers who are not admitted to practice in Connecticut but come from a US jurisdiction which offers reciprocal access, from unauthorised practice of law violation provided the legal services they are providing "are in or reasonably related to a pending or potential arbitration, mediation, or other alternative dispute resolution proceeding in this or another jurisdiction, if the services arise out of or are reasonably related to the lawyer's practice in a jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted to practice and are not services for which the forum requires pro hac vice admission".

Are foreign lawyers allowed to appear in court under any circumstances?


Connecticut 's pro hac vice rules do not cover foreign lawyers 

Can foreign lawyers requalify as local lawyers?


An applicant who otherwise does not meet the educational requirements may be eligible to sit for the exam if he/she meets certain conditions. Conditions include admission before the highest court of original jurisdiction in a U.S. state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or a U.S. District Court for 10 or more years, good standing in such jurisdiction, active practice of law in that jurisdiction for 5 of the last 7 years, and an intention to actively practice law in Connecticut and to devote a majority of his/her work to such practice. Not addressed. Section 2-13, Connecticut Superior Court Rules Regulating Admission to the Bar


Can a foreign law firm obtain a licence to open an office?

There are no separate requirements on law firms. An FLC is permitted to open an office.

Even if a foreign law firm does not require a legal licence must they register in some form in order to set up an office? (e.g. with a ministry of company affairs etc)

 Not applicable

Are there different types of foreign law firm 'licence'  (e.g. Joint Law Venture, stand alone foreign licence etc)

Not applicable

Is there a quota on the number of licences available?

Not applicable

Are there geographical restrictions on foreign firm licences or on the number of branches a foreign firm can have?


Are there "scope of practice" rules that apply directly to foreign law firms (as opposed to lawyers themselves)? (e.g. home, host, international law), if so, what are they? No
Are there restrictions on the corporate form a foreign law firm can take? Not applicable
Are there rules about the name a foreign law firm can take? Not applicable
What entity grants a 'license' to a foreign law firm? If that entity is on the Internet, please provide the URL Not applicable


Are there restrictions on the ownership share of foreign lawyers in a law firm?

Not applicable

May a domestic lawyer be employed by a foreign lawyer or law firm?

Yes - this is explicitly mentioned in the USA's schedule of specific commitments on legal services

Can a domestic lawyer enter into partnership with a foreign lawyer?

Yes - this is explicitly mentioned in the USA's schedule of specific commitments on legal services

Can a domestic lawyer or domestic law firm employ a foreign lawyer?

Yes - this is explicitly mentioned in the USA's schedule of specific commitments on legal services



Other useful sources or comments or links


Verified by

Attorney Services, Connecticut Bar Examiners (January 2014)