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Guide to the Attorneys General Office

Attorneys General Office


What is the Attorneys General Office?

In the majority of common law jurisdictions in the United States, the attorneys general office is home to the chief legal advisor to the government (each state in the country has a local attorney general). In addition to acting as the primary legal advisor to the state, the attorneys general office may also hold executive authority and responsibilities in regards to law enforcement, as well as the general responsibility of initiating public prosecutions.

As a generalized term, the attorneys general office may refer to any legal professional who maintains a broad power of attorney to represent a principal in all legal matters. In the common law tradition; however, any individual who represents the state, especially in criminal prosecutions, is regarded as such an attorney.

Although a government body may designate an individual as the acting or permanent attorney general, anyone who comes to represent the state government in the same capacity is referred to as operating out of the attorneys general office. That being said, in addition to the individual state’s attorneys general office, the United States Federal Government maintains the position as well. The federal posting of the attorneys general office is more exacting than its local counterpart.

What is the Federal Attorneys General Office?

In the federal government of the United States, the Attorneys General Office is a fundamental member of the Cabinet; the United States’ Attorneys General Office acts as head of the Department of Justice. As a result of this position and label, the federal Attorneys General Office maintains its positions as the top law enforcement office and lawyer (in an individual sense) for the United States Federal Government.

The United States Attorneys General Office is typically distinguished from the government’s Solicitor General, which is a high Justice Department position that holds the responsibility of representing the United States’ government before the Supreme Court. That being said, for cases of exceptional importance, the Attorneys General Office may choose to represent the government to the Supreme Court.

As stated before, each state within the United States maintains an attorneys general office. Similar to the Federal Attorneys General Office (located in the nation’s capital of Washington D.C.), all local attorney general offices are responsible for representing the government and prosecuting criminal cases on behalf of the state. The majority of state Attorney Generals are chosen by popular election, as opposed to the United States Attorney General who is appointed by the President and subsequently confirmed by the Senate.

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