CEO 75-187 -- September 25, 1975
CE FORM 2
DISTINCTION BETWEEN ASSOCIATE AND PARTNER
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Gene Rhodes
Reference is made to CEO 74-78. For purposes of the Quarterly Statement of Disclosure of Clients Represented Before Agencies, CE Form 2, the reporting person is responsible for disclosure of his own representations as well as those of any partner or associate in his professional firm of which he is aware. It is the duty of the reporting officer to exercise reasonable care in seeing that he receives knowledge of representations made by members of his firm, but such knowledge will not be imputed to him unless it is evaded.
For purposes of the Quarterly Statement of Disclosure of Clients Represented Before Agencies, CE Form 2, would knowledge of an appearance before any agency of local government by another member of your law firm be imputed to you because of your position as a partner in that firm?
Your letter of inquiry advises us that you were recently appointed to serve as a member of the ____ Municipal Planning Board. You are also a partner in a 30-member law firm which represents various clients before numerous local governmental agencies.
It is our view that, as a partner in a law firm, your duty under s. 112.3145(1)(c), F. S., is no greater than the duty of an associate, as discussed in a previous opinion of this commission, CEO 74-78, of which you are apparently aware, having cited this opinion in your letter of inquiry. We stated in that opinion:
If it is physically and clerically impractical for you to be informed of all pertinent appearances the firm would have with various agencies or units of government at your level, you are required to list on CE Form 2 only those representations of which you have direct knowledge or those which have been brought to your attention.
Of further importance in that opinion is our interpretation that a reporting public officer has the duty to exercise reasonable care in seeing that he does receive actual knowledge of all representations made by partners and associates which a reasonably prudent person would be expected to receive.
Within these parameters we must conclude that knowledge of representations made by partners or associates of your firm will not be imputed to you except in cases where it is clear under the circumstances that you would have actual knowledge but for an effort on your behalf to evade such knowledge.