The Florida Bar

Ethics Opinion

Opinion 65-2

January 20, 1965
Advisory ethics opinions are not binding.
An assistant city attorney whose law partner is a member of the state road board should not deal
with the road board or road department on behalf of the city and should not represent private
clients in matters involving the road board or road department.


Chairman Smith stated the opinion of the committee:
A member of The Florida Bar states that he presently serves as an assistant
city attorney for a city and that his law partner has recently been appointed a
member of the State Road Board. He asks our opinion regarding the propriety of
(1) his continuing to serve the city in his present capacity and (2) his firm
representing any clients, including road contractors, who might have dealings with
the State of Florida or its agencies.
The questions presented are rather broad in scope, and it is difficult to formulate a
response covering every conceivable situation. In the last analysis, he will have to use his own
judgment as to the propriety of accepting representation which may create a conflict of interest or
lead to public misunderstanding.
Subject to the foregoing comment, it is the opinion of the Committee that he may
properly continue to serve the city as an assistant city attorney. He should not personally deal,
however, with the State Road Board or the State Road Department in connection with any legal
matter involving its agencies and the city.
The Committee is also of the opinion that he may represent clients in connection with
matters concerning the State of Florida, and agencies thereof, with the exception of the State
Road Board, the State Road Department or any agency which might have jurisdiction of, or
interest in, matters subject to the consideration of the State Road Board. He should not represent
any highway contractors in connection with matters subject to surveillance of the State Road
Board or State Road Department. Finally, he should take great care to avoid any relationship or
circumstances which would suggest that the official influence of the law practice is being used
for the benefit of a client of the firm.