In-depth analysis of the role of state attorneys general in the American legal system.

As states' chief law enforcement officers, state attorneys general are vested with broad authority to represent the public interest while simultaneously serving as counsel to state government. provides insight into the multifaceted responsibilities of this office by examining the emerging issues and areas of jurisdiction in which state attorneys general play an increasingly important role. is led by James E. Tierney, the former Maine Attorney General (1980-1990) and former Director of the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School (2003-2016). Mr. Tierney is currently a Lecturer-in-Law at Harvard Law School, where he also serves as a clinic director, and Columbia Law School.

Tierney Blog: Latest Posts


Current course syllabus for James E. Tierney's seminar on the Role of the State Attorney General, now being offered at Harvard and Columbia Law Schools.

AG 101

An introduction to the history, structure and function of the office of state attorney general, including resources on ethics and links to other relevant websites.

Upcoming Appearances


I see attorneys general standing up and doing what is right, oftentimes without anybody knowing it and oftentimes at great political peril, and taking positions that I may fundamentally disagree with, but doing so from an ethical basis…and their sense of what’s best in the public interest of the states.
— James E. Tierney