NYS Attorney General

New York State Attorney General's Office

As New York State’s Chief Attorney under Executive Law Section 63, the Attorney General is charged with protecting and defending the people of New York. The Attorney General’s (AG) Office is staffed with over 500 attorneys, and over 1,800 support staff, including legal assistants, scientists, investigators, forensic accountants and secretaries.

The AG’s Office represents the State University of New York (SUNY) and all of its campuses in any litigation commenced by SUNY on behalf of one or more of its campuses, and the AG’s Office defends SUNY, its campuses and employees acting within the scope of their public employment duties in lawsuits in which they are named as defendants.  It also plays a role in the State contracting process; it approves contracts as to form.

The AG’s Office is broken down into various Divisions, and further subdivided into units.  The main four (4) Divisions include the Criminal Division, the Division of Public Advocacy, the Division of State Counsel and the Division of Appeals and Opinions.  Of import to the University, the Division of Public Advocacy supervises the Anti-trust Unit, the Charities Bureau, the Civil Rights Office (amongst other units), while the Division of State Counsel is responsible for Civil Recoveries (which collects SUNY’s unpaid student loans and delinquent tuition accounts, and sues for breach of contract), Claims (which defends SUNY, if it is sued in the name of the State of New York), and Litigation (which prosecutes and defends SUNY and its employees as named in lawsuits).  This Division of State Counsel is the largest division of the AG’s Office, staffed with nearly two thirds of all of the Assistant Attorney Generals, with bureaus based in Albany and New York City, and twelve (12) regional offices.

Counsel’s Office serves as the liaison with the AG’s Office on all litigation-related matters involving the University at Albany and its employees.  Those seeking to serve a summons and complaint on the University are referred to the Counsel’s Office as only the Counsel’s Office may accept service on behalf of the University.  If a University employee is a named defendant in litigation also naming the University, Counsel’s Office will not ordinarily accept service on behalf of the named employee.  The employee may accept such service, but only on his or her own behalf.  The employee must then immediately notify Counsel’s Office to, among other things, request defense and indemnification from the AG’s Office under the provisions of section 17 of the Public Officer’s Law.