As the head of Dickstein Shapiro’s preeminent State Attorneys General Practice, Bernie Nash counsels Fortune 500 companies on a wide range of matters involving State AGs; he also has represented states in significant policy disputes. His work typically involves cases of first impression, matters having public policy implications or a governmental interest, and complex litigation. Under Bernie’s leadership, Dickstein Shapiro has become the country’s “go to” firm for clients having State Attorneys General issues.
“The area of law that I practice in is always a moving target; it’s always new issues, cases of first impression, billion dollar cases, and cases that have policy and political overtones. To be a successful lawyer in this area, you have to be creative and think outside the box. I find it stimulating, I find it exciting, and I always have to be at my best every day. I never know what to expect.”
“I think I’ve been successful because I have a unique combination of skills and experience that not many lawyers have. One, before I got involved in policy and politics I was ‘a real lawyer’: I tried cases, I took depositions, I issued subpoenas, I wrote briefs. Then I went to the U.S. Senate, where I learned policy and politics. I learned the legislative process, how you build coalitions to pass legislation, and how you develop an argument at a policy level.”
“That is the distinction — the lawyers in Dickstein’s State AG Practice are both real lawyers and policy pros.”
Milton A. Marquis
Milton Marquis served with the government for 14 years at the U.S. Department of Justice and the offices of the Attorneys General of Virginia and Massachusetts. In private practice, Milton has provided advice and counsel to clients on a wide range of antitrust issues, including the development of intellectual property rights policies for standard setting organizations, the antitrust implications of settlements of patent infringement litigation, the establishment of antitrust corporate compliance programs, and joint ventures.
Milton currently serves on the Advisory Board of the American Antitrust Institute and is a member of the National Bar Association and the Energy Bar Association.
“Advocating for your client with State AGs is always a great challenge. AGs wear a lot of different hats, and the mix of law and policy issues they balance every day means I have to be creative and innovative to advance my clients’ goals. This is not straight up lawyering — AGs have to weigh not just the legal implications of taking action or not. They also have to consider the political, economic, and policy ramifications and do what is best for the citizens of their states.”
Divonne Smoyer has extensive experience counseling major corporations through state level investigations. Divonne has taught courses on negotiation strategy and alternative dispute resolution procedures as an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center and The George Washington University Law School.
“There is never a dull moment because you never know on any given day what may come up. It could be a wage-and-hour issue, an environmental issue, a tax issue, a False Claims Act issue…it’s constantly changing and dynamic. It keeps you fresh.”
“We aren’t just policy people, and we aren’t just litigators. We take the long view for our clients: We don’t just focus on what the motion to dismiss is going to look like or how summary judgment will fall. We want to find a durable resolution not just for the problem at hand but for a range of problems that may come up in the future.”
Divonne is certified as an Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) by the International Association of Privacy Professionals. She uses this expertise to help clients develop policies and strategies for complying with data privacy laws and implementing industry best practices. She is particularly experienced helping companies cope with legal compliance issues following a data loss.
Maria Colsey Heard
Maria Heard helps companies respond to State AG and other government investigations and inquiries, litigate State AG and government civil suits, and develop legislative or other public policy solutions to legal challenges. Maria also works in the field of class action settlement, including defending settlements against third-party and collateral attacks. She also oversees Dickstein Shapiro’s pro bono activities on behalf of companion animal rescue groups.
“My goal going to and graduating from law school was to work for the government. I had worked for my hometown mayor’s office and was fascinated by the legal and policy issues involved. However, when I finished school and a clerkship, I turned my sights to private practice. A public sector litigation practice like Dickstein Shapiro’s State AG group was the perfect way for me to stick with the work I love.”
Lori E. Kalani
Lori Kalani assists clients with formulating strategies for building relationships with, advocating before, and responding to State AGs. Utilizing her many years of corporate and legal experience, Lori has advised companies in a wide range of industries on investigations, public policy matters, and competition issues before State AGs.
“Having an extensive background in the business sector as well as direct experience working closely with and for government agencies, I have a unique perspective on the importance of developing and maintaining strong working relationships between the private sector and state regulators—especially State AGs. I have found that State AGs truly appreciate maintaining relationships with business contacts, as they can be an invaluable resource, whether it is to share insights about a particular industry, offer advice on policy, or provide assistance on a unique consumer-related issue. This blog will be a dynamic resource that companies can turn to for such timely and relevant information and stay informed about State AG actions and trends.”
“My experience on the government relations side also has proven to me that it is equally important for legal departments and corporate leadership to work together in order anticipate and strategically respond to emerging issues that may draw State AG attention.”
JB Kelly handles a variety of complex, often multi-state, litigation matters and critical public policy issues. Prior to joining the firm, he served as General Counsel to North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.
“I have been privileged to work in the ‘front office’ for two State AGs for almost fifteen years. This has given me a unique perspective on how and why State AGs exercise their prosecutorial discretion within the limited resources they have, which sometimes means partnering with each other and federal agencies. Having worked with multi-state and federal partners on matters, I have an appreciation for the complex dynamics that exist when attempting to reach group consensus with diverse needs.”
“If there is one thing that people do not appreciate when working with State AG offices it is that there are no set rules. Developing an adaptable strategy for working with State AGs before an issue arises should be a priority for any entity doing business in a state, as State AGs are involved in just about any and every legal matter and policy issue involving their state, its people, and its businesses.”
Aaron R. Lancaster
Aaron Lancaster focuses primarily on consumer protection and antitrust issues. He represents clients in state investigations and litigations in a wide variety of matters, including investigations regarding financial and insurance service matters, pharmaceutical pricing, antitrust issues, and other state and federal consumer protection issues.
He also counsels clients, most recently in the gaming industry, on building relationships with State Attorneys General so as to minimize their exposure to state-led lawsuits and negative publicity.
“Working with AGs is not like working with a traditional litigant or with other government agencies, and doing so requires a distinct point of view. With this blog, I hope to keep companies and organizations informed about activities in the State AG world. AGs are a legal and political force. By keeping informed of current AG activities, events, and current areas of interest, our readers will be able better to anticipate what to expect from AGs.”
Aaron is certified as an Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) by the International Association of Privacy Professionals. He uses this expertise to assist clients in investigating and mitigating the damages associated with data losses, including advising them in notification issues following a data loss.
Ann-Marie Luciano focuses on complex litigation matters involving antitrust, white collar criminal defense, and general commercial litigation. She has spent several years practicing as a litigator in both federal and state court and has a wealth of experience in oral advocacy, depositions, expert discovery, and the modern complexities of the ediscovery process. As a result, she is well-versed in how to handle all aspects of an AG or governmental investigation and how to make the discovery process as efficient and cost effective as possible. Ms. Luciano also devotes significant time to pro bono matters regarding habeas corpus and the death penalty.
“I enjoy the opportunity to combine my litigation experience with my interest in policy to represent our clients before State Attorneys General. With this blog I hope to inform the reader about pending U.S. Supreme Court cases that touch upon issues of interest to State Attorneys General and to bring awareness to other issues and trends of national import.”
Stacey J. Mobley
Stacey Mobley joined Dickstein Shapiro in 2008 as senior counsel serving in an advisory capacity and working closely with the State Attorneys General Practice, and as a member of the firm’s Diversity Committee. He comes to the firm following a noteworthy career at E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, which he joined in 1972 as the company’s first African-American lawyer, and retired as senior vice president, chief administrative officer, general counsel, and a member of Office of the Chief Executive.
In 2008, The American Lawyer awarded Stacey with its Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2007, he received an Appleseed award for his commitment to promoting pro bono legal support and diversity in the workplace.
Christopher M. Tampio
Over the course of his two decades in government relations, Chris Tampio has represented the interests of numerous industries on both the state and federal level, handling labor, tax, finance, appropriations, immigration, health care, and small business issues, among many others.
“I enjoy working in this area because State AGs are able to accomplish substantial policy objectives without taking years to do it.”
“After nearly 20 years of working primarily on federal issues as a lobbyist in DC, I became a little frustrated with the inefficiencies of the political and legislative process in the nation’s capital. Now States are taking it upon themselves to try and solve problems—including national issues. The AGs are getting involved as a group and acting unilaterally on many of the issues that in the past were left to DC.”
Christopher J. Allen
Chris Allen represents clients primarily in connection with state government investigations and complex public policy issues on a wide range of topics, including prescription drug pricing, consumer financial protection, student lending, telecommunications, environmental protection, data security breaches, and antitrust liability.
“The State AG practice is like no other practice. We are involved in every area of the law that AGs cover — which is to say almost everything. Because AGs’ roles combines law enforcement and law-making, policy and politics, every day I find myself thinking about a unique aspect of the law or a new cutting-edge issue, often with political and policy implications far beyond those involved in typical legal work.”
“I hope to help our readers better understand the vital role AGs play — as chief advocates for their states and their citizens — in the unique federal structure of this country, as well as the impact they have on the business community and on a wide range of legal and public policy issues.”
Alison K. Gary*
Alison K. Gary focuses on matters at the intersection of state government action, politics, public policy, and the law. Prior to joining Dickstein Shapiro, she obtained a degree in government and leadership from Claremont McKenna College and her J.D. from the University of Oregon. She also previously spent time closely tracking the activities of the National Association of Attorneys General and working on a campaign for a State Attorney General. With her hands-on experience, Alison has developed a practical understanding of the unique role of State AGs.
“Being at the nexus of law, politics, and business, Dickstein Shapiro’s State AG practice is uniquely positioned to develop creative solutions and provide multiple avenues through which businesses can achieve their goals. I am particularly interested in helping companies come in to compliance with myriad state regulations before problems develop and to help them navigate the often-times complex web of state law and politics.”
“The importance of establishing a good relationship with State AGs’ offices is often overlooked by companies until trouble is on the horizon, and I hope this blog can help alert them to issues that may affect their businesses before those issues turn into problems.”
Matthew A. Neuburger
Matt Neuburger represents clients in complex civil litigation and government investigations, with an emphasis on antitrust, insurance coverage, and privacy matters.
“Working with AGs requires flexibility. I enjoy the challenge of balancing various interests and viewpoints to deliver positive outcomes for our clients.
“This blog is a great mechanism for keeping our readers informed about trends and developments happening all over the country. Companies need to be aware of the threats and opportunities in 51 different jurisdictions, and this blog is an excellent clearinghouse for consolidating that information.”