Joining Foley Hoag; Insights from the NAAG Summer Meeting

I am delighted to join Foley Hoag. The firm’s deep expertise in so many areas of practice, and its commitment to pro bono work are among the reasons I decided to join the firm. Our communities and our businesses face good opportunities as well as thin ice in recovery from the recession. A strong economy will optimize new technologies and business models here in Massachusetts, as well as globally. My colleagues here are among the best to provide such guidance and counsel. We hope this blog will provide some guidance to issues and concerns that we see up close or on the horizon and will encourage you to think creatively about legal and regulatory issues you face now and will in the future.

My time as Massachusetts Attorney General between 2007 and January of this year was rewarding as well as interesting. I developed an appreciation and respect for the fast pace of change and the need for a constructive dialogue among industry and regulators. Missed cues, misunderstanding and miscommunication with state and federal regulators can result in lost time, business, and reputation.

As a member of SAGE (Society of Attorneys General Emeritus), I recently attended the summer meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) in San Diego where the annual change of leadership occurs. AG Jim Hood of Mississippi retired as president of NAAG and AG Marty Jackley of South Dakota assumed the role. The June meeting agenda focused heavily on public protection issues, such as  developing effective strategies to combat sex trafficking in the US, similar efforts to combat the national crisis of opioid addiction, strategies to better protect children and integrate statewide services that address children’s issues. The AG roundtable and other programming addressed a wide range of regulatory issues, including wireless carriers and “cramming,” how AGs might intersect with US Trade activity including new Trade Agreements, collaborating on Cyber Solutions that address more secure payment technologies like chip and PIN and tokenization, and consolidation in the healthcare marketplace. Vermont AG Bill Sorell noted that his own interest in staying the course on the cramming investigation was heightened when a $9.99 charge of dubious origin appeared on his office mobile phone!

You can expect Attorneys Generals in the near future to stay active, individually, in regional or smaller groups, as well as in multi-state investigations as the states remain diligent in identifying consumer and business issues from genetically modified organisms to emerging anti- trust issues especially in health care. They have been more nimble than other agencies, either state or federal, in investigating and finding remedies if needed. I have no doubt that cyber issues from data breach to privacy will continue to remain a top priority for AGs and their assistants. For example AG Kilmartin of Rhode Island led a panel on “Police Body-Worn Cameras” that is just another realm of the dialogue on privacy concerns, data storage and retention.

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