Helping Businesses Navigate Complex Issues Involving State AGs
Our State Attorneys General practice group provides comprehensive political and legal services to companies and other organizations navigating the complex and constantly evolving arena of State Attorneys General. We develop and execute strategic plans focused both on proactively building relationships with the goal of avoiding problems, and on responding to requests for information or subpoenas in a manner most conducive to resolving legal disputes efficiently and effectively. Perhaps most importantly, we work to keep our clients ahead of the curve through our continuous efforts to gather information and political intelligence on current topics and upcoming trends.
As the chief legal officers of their states, attorneys general (AGs) operate at the intersection of law and public policy. They hold the power to institute civil suits, revoke corporate charters, enforce antitrust regulations, initiate fraud actions and enforce environmental laws, among other things. Consumer protection is a key area of any AG's authority. Because most state AGs are popularly elected, their decisions on such legal matters often reflect or are affected by political considerations in addition to policy goals.
Increasingly, AGs are projecting their power in a growing number of legal, political and policy issue areas that affect business interests. It is becoming commonplace for AGs to assert authority in the areas of health care, corporate governance and securities, insurance, government contracting, financial services, environmental law, intellectual property, direct marketing compliance and white collar crime. One reason for this is the trend, since the mid-1980s, of AGs from separate states coordinating national regulatory efforts. AGs regularly enhance their individual power by collaborating and acting in concert across the nation. Few businesses are beyond the reach of any attorney general in the country due to such coordination of legal theories and actions. Another source of increasing authority is the United States Congress, which is increasingly inclined to expand State AG power by providing concurrent power with federal agencies. Recent examples include the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, both of which provide jurisdiction to State AGs.
Companies with forward-thinking executives recognize the need to develop and execute a proactive strategy to build relationships and respond to inquiries through a legal team knowledgeable about both process and substance. The Brownstein team includes a former Attorney General of New Mexico, former key aides to other State Attorneys General, as well as former prosecutors and high-level Congressional staffers who together have the necessary legal knowledge and political experience to anticipate developments and provide counsel on all aspects of AG activities. Because the group maintains regular communication with attorneys general and their staff, we keep our clients ahead of the curve on current and proposed legal actions and how those decisions will affect them. Our services include: Direct contact with state AGs and their staffs; developing and executing strategic plans for State AG strategies; and monitoring political and legal activities and trends.
Members of our Group have gained valuable expertise by serving in a number of roles, including:
- A former Attorney General of New Mexico and current adjunct professor of law at George Mason University School of Law who created and teaches a course on state attorneys general and multi-state litigation and regulation.
- A former Deputy Attorney General and Assistant Solicitor General for the State of Colorado who served as the Attorney General's senior legal and policy advisor and liaison to the Governor, all state departments and the legislature, and was involved in decisions concerning amicus participation at the U.S. Supreme Court.
- A former Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the federal agency responsible for regulation and implementation of safety standards for over 15,000 consumer products.
- A former Deputy Staff Director and Senior Counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, who now advises clients on a variety of legal reform measures, and who also served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia.
- A former Chief of Staff to the Governor of Nevada who served as the Governor’s primary liaison with federal, state and local government agencies and with business and industry representatives on issues including energy regulation, taxation, water and natural resources, telecommunications, financial regulation, gaming and healthcare; and who previously served as Senior Deputy Attorney General in the Nevada Attorney General’s Office.
Political analysis and legal counsel. Our highly experienced professionals constantly assess the political and legal environment in which State Attorneys General operate. We provide proactive strategies to help clients best engage and develop relationships in this ever-changing area. We also help you understand motivations and ramifications in order to craft creative and effective solutions.
Multi-state Access. Brownstein is a member of both the Democratic Attorneys General Association and the Republican Attorneys General Association. We also participate in meetings and conferences of the National Association of Attorneys General and the Conference of Western Attorneys General. We are engaged with AGs of both political parties in every region of the country.
Comprehensive understanding of Attorneys General. Simply put, we understand how AGs work and the environment in which they work. Each member of our group brings experience, judgment and different perspectives to overcoming challenges. When you hire us, you hire practical expertise and an intimate understanding of how things get done.
Multi-level government relationships. Brownstein’s Government Relations practice has long-established relationships at every level of government. In addition to State Attorneys General, we have worked for senators, congressmen, executive administrations and various government agencies. We have held elected office and served on influential committees. The connections gained from these experiences put us in a position to help our clients to coordinate a vast array of legal, political and regulatory issues.