State Attorneys General
As the top law enforcement officer in each state, attorneys general (“AGs”) leverage unique criminal, civil, and consumer protection authority against companies and entire industries. They can be formidable adversaries, or powerful allies. Their enforcement efforts often span borders and subject matter areas, as AGs band together to bring multi-state actions. Companies that have employees, engage with consumers, have marketing efforts, or even just produce a product or service may have to interface with one or more state AGs on issues including antitrust, cybersecurity, consumer protection, data privacy, environmental impact, and labor laws. AGs are also increasingly partnering with the federal government to bring regulatory and enforcement actions, ranging from United States Attorneys to agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
McGuireWoods offers clients a unique perspective on how to handle state-based agency and attorneys general actions. Given our depth of knowledge, experience, and political connections, our firm is particularly well-suited to represent clients in these matters. Our attorneys and consultants have established credibility with state officials that only decades of experience can provide, including:
- Direct, personal relationships with most governors and attorneys general across the country, and their senior staffs
- Understanding the political landscape that influences policy development and enforcement actions
- Deep experience with message development and strategic positioning before meetings with AGs and governors
- Organizing follow-up and providing counsel on ways to keep the client top-of-mind and relevant through McGuireWoods Consulting
- Advising on compliance in ethics/lobbyist registration, PAC/political giving, and lobbying/grassroots lobbying
McGuireWoods attorneys help clients develop comprehensive strategies regarding inquiries and investigations from state and federal regulators, including specifically state attorneys general, and act proactively, leveraging relationships with legislative and administrative bodies at every level. We provide clients with the value and convenience of “one-stop shopping,” offering integrated legal, public policy development, lobbying, and issue advocacy services. A thoroughly bipartisan team, we have deep experience across the nation in both the courtroom and the halls of government.
McGuireWoods attorneys have defended corporations in a wide variety of AG matters, including one of the most notable enforcement efforts of the last two decades that included almost every state and territory’s AG as well as federal enforcement. Our team includes two former Chief Deputy Attorneys General of Virginia spanning four administrations, a former New York Assistant Attorney General who served across three administrations, and the former Deputy Enforcement Director of the CFPB, among many more with experience working for AGs in states as diverse as Georgia and Colorado.
Our team is backed by the full power of McGuireWoods, including former assistant U.S. attorneys from federal jurisdictions across the country, senior former officials from the SEC, FINRA, CFPB, and DOJ. When a problem implicates public policy or political relationship concerns, McGuireWoods Consulting offers comprehensive experience with AGs offices on both sides of the aisle.
Whether a company receives a seemingly innocuous inquiry letter or finds itself answering a suit brought by a transcontinental coalition of AGs, McGuireWoods attorneys bring a unique perspective informed by decades of public service and successfully defending all manner of AG matters across the country.
How We Help
AGs are often motivated by a broad public problem. McGuireWoods’ team spots underlying issues for businesses and counsels them through enforcement activity, often before formal subpoenas are even issued. The team excels at evaluating risk through a political lens in addition to navigating the law and facts of a given situation. Whether it is a criminal defense, civil response, administrative action—or merely the response to an initial inquiry letter—McGuireWoods attorneys are able to work across subject matter areas, from letter response to trial.
Fortune 500 companies, senior executives, boards of directors, and high-profile political leaders repeatedly call on McGuireWoods to handle matters involving AGs, including:
- Minimizing litigation exposure by designing creative strategies to address AG policies
- Navigating privilege, privacy, and confidentiality concerns in connection with sensitive potential testimony and document productions
- Maintaining a trusted relationship with AGs to facilitate an open dialogue for clients
- Directing media and public relations and developing crisis management strategies
- Responding to subpoenas in civil and criminal contexts
- Overseeing board and shareholder relations, litigation, and other ancillary matters
- Negotiating with AGs to limit the scope of inquiries, or even challenging AGs jurisdiction (which often comes from complex statutes) to bring enforcement actions in the first place
- Counsel clients through monitorships or serve as a monitor