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About the Office

Welcome

Welcome to the OAG

As Attorney General, it is my duty to fight for greater justice, equality, opportunity, and security for all Virginians, and to provide legal services to the Commonwealth's agencies, boards, commissions, colleges and universities. We are the Commonwealth's law firm, defending the interests of Virginians and Virginia government.

We also work with law enforcement throughout the Commonwealth to prepare for emerging public safety threats and to promote successful, secure communities. That means vigorously defending criminal convictions, prosecuting significant crimes like child exploitation, cyber crimes, elder abuse, theft of state property, and environmental crimes. When requested by local Commonwealth's Attorneys, we will assist with specialized prosecutions.

I hold myself and the employees of the Office of Attorney General to the highest ethical and legal standards, and will bring to bear any resources that are necessary to ensure that Virginians' interests are defended and our Commonwealth is a safe place to raise a family, start a business, or enjoy retirement.

We are here to serve you and offer many resources related to consumer protection, identity theft, internet safety, public safety, and other important issues that Virginians face every day. If we can be of any help, please don't hesitate to contact us.

image of Mark R. Herring's electronic signature

Responsibilities

Responsibilities

The Office of the Attorney General is the Commonwealth's law firm. In addition to representing the interests of the people of Virginia, our clients are Virginia state government and the state agencies, boards and commissions that compose it. 

The Office of the Attorney General includes a chief deputy attorney general, five deputy attorneys general who oversee 21 specialized sections of the law, and other employees including assistant attorneys general, additional lawyers appointed as counsel to particular agencies or universities, legal assistants, legal secretaries and other professional support staff.

One thing the Attorney General and the other attorneys on our staff cannot do is give legal advice to private citizens. If you have a private dispute, this Office cannot intervene. To find more information regarding finding an attorney for a private legal matter, please click here.

The Attorney General has the duty and power to:

  • Conduct or assist criminal investigations and prosecutions in areas like child exploitation or child pornography, computer crimes, gang activities and other organized criminal enterprises, identity theft, violations of environmental law, theft of state property, and fraud against taxpayers.
  • Ensure justice by defending criminal convictions on appeal, defending the state when prisoners sue concerning their incarceration, and assisting victims of crime who are following criminal cases at the appellate level.
  • Enforce state consumer protections laws through investigation, referral, and prosecution of complaints.
  • Provide legal advice and representation to the Governor and executive agencies, state boards and commissions, and institutions of higher education. The advice commonly includes help with personnel issues, contracts, purchasing, regulatory and real estate matters and the review of proposed legislation. The Office also represents those agencies in court.
  • Provide written legal advice in the form of official opinions to members of the General Assembly and government officials.
  • Support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Virginia.
  • Enforce antitrust laws that protect businesses and consumers from behavior that defeats healthy competition.
  • Represent the interests of Virginia consumers in utility matters before the State Corporation Commission.
  • Collect debts owed to state agencies, hospitals and universities.
  • Supervise the appointment and payment of private attorneys hired by other state agencies for various matters.
  • Provide information to the public on Identity Theft prevention and remediation.
  • Administer grants to help reduce crimes involving gangs, drugs and sex predators.
  • Administer the Sexually Violent Predator Civil Commitment Program to protect children from the most dangerous predators.
  • Represent the Department of Social Services in its efforts to collect child support on behalf of children and families.

 

 

Transparency

Transparency

Attorney General Herring believes that transparency and accountability are keys to good governance. The people of Virginia have the right to know how their money is being spent and how this office is working on their behalf.

Outside Counsel

By law, the Attorney General is responsible for providing all legal services for the Commonwealth and its agencies unless it is impracticable or uneconomical to do so. This is often because the work is highly specialized or would require extensive travel by attorneys. Shortly after inauguration, Attorney General Herring identified outside counsel as an area that needed more oversight and structure, which is why the Office has instituted an official policy for engagement, management, and oversight of outside counsel. It requires a documented determination of need, a competitive procurement policy, and objective evaluation, and bars political contributions to the Attorney General by firms seeking outside counsel work while bids are open.

Click here to review the Office of Attorney General's Outside Counsel Policy

Fiscal Transparency

Attorney General Herring is committed to responsibly managing public resources and getting maximum value for every taxpayer dollar. Within weeks of taking office, he asked a non-partisan, outside group of experts to evaluate the office's operations, including budgets, expenditures, and billing. He has instituted recommended reforms from that group to bring a more data-driven approach to office's operations and to help better account for outcomes and value in selecting vendors.

Click here to review the Office of Attorney General's Operating Budgets

Click here to review the Office of Attorney General's Expenditures.