What in-house counsel should know about working with state attorneys general

Tips and best practices for forming relationships with AGs' offices

Read a Q&A with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi on some of the ways her office collaborates on key intiatives with state AGs, other regulators and the private sector.

Learn more about whether to settle AG actions in this article's online exclusive companion.

They’re accessible:

The good news for companies is that state AGs generally operate closer to the ground than other regulators—they have offices in the communities they serve and are open to hearing from the people and the businesses in their state.

NAAG meetings are a key way for companies to connect with AGs. They tend to have a town-hall atmosphere.

They have broad discretion:

It doesn’t matter how strong a relationship a company forms with a state AG’s office—if an AG becomes aware of misconduct over which he has jurisdiction, he is going to do his job. That relationship can, however, facilitate solutions and the implementation of best practices, Turpen says. A pre-existing connection makes it far more likely that before an AG’s office issues a formal subpoena, for instance, it will first reach out informally to the company in question and allow it the chance to talk about what’s going on and how the company can address it to the AG’s satisfaction.

“AGs have broad discretionary power. If businesses have a relationship with the AGs, when problems arise they have the opportunity to craft [with the AGs] a creative solution before a formal investigation even begins,” Turpen says.

Associate Editor

Melissa Maleske

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