Attorney Generals

Find Attorney General, AG, OAG, State Attorney, and Solicitor General offices and locations. The office of the Attorney General provides information on state and federal government law enforcement, the department of justice, states attorney generals, marshals, orders and processes related to legal matters involving the United States government.

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About Attorney Generals

What is an Attorney General?

An Attorney General is the chief legal officer of a state and serves as legal counsel to the legislature and state agencies. The office of Attorney General is a Constitutional office in each state, and many of the office's responsibilities are delineated by the state Constitution. State statutes may also confer powers and responsibilities to the Attorney General.

State Attorneys General are charged with providing opinions on legal or constitutional matters, representing the state and state agencies in federal and state courts, and filing civil suits on behalf of the state. The Attorney General is also a state's chief law enforcement officer, and in some states, the Attorney General is the head of a state department of justice. An Attorney General may also serve as a public advocate on a variety of matters, such as consumer protection, child welfare, and utility regulation. The Attorney General's Office may also administer a compensation fund to provide financial assistance to innocent victims of crimes.

In forty-three states and the District of Columbia, the Attorney General is an elected office. The governor appoints the Attorney General in five states. In Tennessee, the Attorney General is selected by the state Supreme Court, and in Maine, the legislature selects the Attorney General.

At the federal level, the U.S. Attorney General is the head of the U.S. Department of Justice, chief legal counsel to the President, and represents the federal government in all legal matters. As head of the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney General enforces federal laws, interprets laws that affect federal agencies, and supervises U.S. Attorneys and Marshals. The Attorney General may also appear before the U.S. Supreme Court in select cases. The U.S. Attorney General is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

Legal departments at the county and local level can have duties similar to an Attorney General, and are usually referred to as City Counsel, General Counsel, or a similar title. These offices represent the county or local government on legal issues, but their powers are much more limited than those of an Attorney General.