Legal Ethics

South Florida Law Firm's Website Worries Ethics Experts

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A full-time adviser to the Miami-Dade County mayor in South Florida also happens to be a lawyer.

And, on the website for Gazitua Letelier, the law firm of which Luis Andre Gazitua, 32, is a founding partner—at least until recently—was a photograph of Gazitua looking into downtown Miami from an office atop the Miami-Dade County hall, according to the Miami Herald.

Also featured on the website, the newspaper notes, is a description of one key area in which the firm provides legal representation: “Our Government Policy Practice attorneys work with all branches of government, through both traditional and innovative channels, to promote and protect our clients’ interests, and to formulate legislative, regulatory and political strategies to support our clients’ needs.”

“There is no evidence that Gazitua’s private business has profited from his public post, but touting his county position on the website troubles ethics experts,” the newspaper writes, explaining that a county policy prohibits employees from using public office for private financial gain. Additionally, “legal experts say the trumpeting of his county post on his law firm’s website raises an appearance of impropriety,” from the standpoint of attorney ethics standards, the Herald says.

It appears that Gazitua may have read the article along with Herald subscribers: There is now no sign of the photograph the newspaper describes in the law firm’s website, which features an illustration of a maze and a photograph of massive building columns. And a highlighted line in the website, which is not described in the newspaper article, says the law firm doesn’t do business with or represent clients before Miami-Dade County.

Related coverage:

The Latin Connect: “Luis Gazitua: Young Lawyer Extraordinaire”

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