Hunton & Williams has an active national practice before state Attorneys General — one of the few such practices in the nation. This practice has grown in response to clients' needs as they face increasing challenges at the state level. We support clients in sensitive litigation, antitrust matters, and investigations. We help to educate AGs on important public policy positions and on cases of national importance in both the federal appellate courts and in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Today, effective government relations advocacy and monitoring is often critical to the success of business. With the successful litigation over a decade ago against the tobacco industry by state AGs, a paradigm in public policy has changed. Today, AGs are able to drive public policy which had historically been the province of federal regulators. The scope of this new activism is considerable when viewed in the context of how AGs traditionally avoided national issues and cases outside of their states, and were content to adhere to the conventional legal jurisprudence involving state — not national — policy.
Activist AGs are increasingly coordinating their activities against targeted industries and are ready to engage in policy debates well beyond their state borders. In some instances, they are even teaming up with the plaintiffs' bar. These AGs tend to have large staffs of attorneys and investigators which allow them to engage in these actions. When AGs decide to focus attention on an organization, it can at times be very costly and time-consuming.
We regularly interact with state AGs and their staffs to educate these offices on the business paradigms and policy concerns of industry. This interaction also includes creating relationships with the relevant Deputy and Assistant AGs. Time and again, we find that these offices are grateful to learn of industry trends and practices. This outreach is always done on a bipartisan basis. In addition, Hunton & Williams works closely with the staffs of AG groups, including the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG), the Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA), and the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA).