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Nonpartisanship and Commitment to Social Justice Mark First In-Person AG Conference Since Pandemic Began

The Attorney General Alliance (“AGA”) held its Annual Meeting in June, 2021. It was the first in-person bipartisan national AG conference since the beginning of the pandemic. Several Cozen O’Connor State AG Group attorneys, including co-chairs Bernie Nash and Lori Kalani, participated in the meeting, and member Mira Baylson spoke at two sessions.

As in previous years, this year’s meeting was attended by many heavy hitters from industries currently the subject of AG focus and scrutiny. The collegial and informal atmosphere provided many opportunities for industry thought leaders to participate in candid conversations with AGs and their staff.

Clear Commitment to Social Justice

While several themes were apparent throughout the five days of the conference, none was so clear as the AGs’ commitment to social justice, to which several panel discussions were dedicated. Other AG priorities reflected in the agenda were climate change, environmental justice, antitrust, consumer protection, cybersecurity, the digital divide, and the protection of vulnerable populations, such as children and the elderly. With respect to specific industries, there was a strong focus on social media and cannabis.

Unique Issues Arising From the Pandemic

The attendees reflected on the unique issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the extensive price gouging seen across a broad swath of essential goods and services. There were also discussions about pandemic-related changes in how law is practiced and which of these changes are likely permanent. For example, remote or online notarization has become legal in many states because of the disruption caused by the pandemic and, through the “full faith and credit” clause, is recognized in all 50 states.

In the current hyper-politicized national environment the nonpartisan tone of the meeting was notable, and substantive and productive discussions of complex issues took place. Attendees enjoyed seeing familiar faces again and many shared their gratitude for the work of front-line workers and government officials in steering a course through a challenging year.