State Attorneys General Crisis Capabilities

When a crisis evolves into a high-profile matter resulting in concurrent federal, state, and congressional inquiries and private class actions, all undertaken in the glare of the media spotlight, a targeted response strategy is essential. The strategy must take into account the broader context and include an assessment of state attorney general (AG) interest in relevant issues prior to litigation, as well as the unique aspects of public litigation by states—including political considerations, policy concerns, and other public motivations that do not exist in cases brought by private litigants.

As such matters evolve, other aspects must be considered, including the following:

  • Response to AG demands during litigation, including media-related demands
  • Sequence, substance, and timing of response to issues raised in settlement negotiations
  • Activities of private class action lawyers who routinely interact with state AGs
  • Relationships between state AGs and their federal law enforcement counterparts

When there is the potential for state AG interest, we offer a unique combination: Morgan Lewis trial lawyers experienced in litigating against state AGs, bolstered by the specialized assistance of Morgan Lewis Consulting.

Morgan Lewis Consulting advises companies under scrutiny by state AGs, crafting tailored litigation strategies designed to defend against multistate AG investigations—especially those that occur in the context of federal regulatory reviews, criminal prosecutions, class actions, and congressional inquiries. We understand that investigations by other governmental entities—such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, US Department of Justice, US Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Communications Commission, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Federal Trade Commission, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Food and Drug Administration—as well as private litigation often occur during the course of investigations by state AGs. We develop a plan for clients to effectively integrate this state AG component into a comprehensive strategy.  

Our multilateral strategies also assist companies in balancing state AG public, political, and policy concerns. We help our clients convey their message across bureaucratic lines to key political and career decisionmakers. We work with state AGs every day, and we have favorably resolved litigation and investigations in all 56 states and territories. Our lawyers and professionals have served in senior leadership positions in state AG offices and associations, including stints as AG, chief of public prosecution (consumer and antitrust), chief counsel for consumer protection at the National Association of Attorneys General, associate deputy US AG, and director of intergovernmental affairs and executive director for the Conference of Western Attorneys General. Using our national platform, we interact directly with state AGs, their senior staff supervisors, and the line assistants who run the investigations to assist and advocate for our clients.