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Attorneys general (AGs) are not only lawyers for their states; they are enforcers, regulators, and even public policy advocates. With a broad consumer protection mandate, a state AG is able to reach a wide range of industries that have a consumer touch. When joining in multi-state actions, and even more so those with public policy implications, AGs have a significant voice nationally to affect interests of business. We attended a series of multi-state AG meetings in June that highlighted three areas emblematic of these issues and powers.

Authority of a State Attorney General

“Top Cop” is often the name by which an attorney general is known in his or her state. However with little criminal prosecutorial power, state AGs rely on their broad consumer protection authority. In doing so, an AG acts in the state’s interest and can pursue claims on behalf of states’ citizens, under a parens patriae theory, to seek recovery on behalf of an entire class of consumers.

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