Division of State Counsel

The Attorney General represents in litigation the State and its agencies, State officials, and the Legislature. The Division of State Counsel defends thousands of suits each year in every area of state government. More than half of the Department's attorneys work in this Division. These lawyers are based in Albany and New York City and in the Department's 13 Regional offices. The specific bureaus and functions within the Division of State Counsel are as follows:

Civil Recoveries
The Civil Rights Bureau, which is part of the OAG’s Social Justice Division, enforces laws protecting New Yorkers from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, source of income or disability. Using federal, state, and local locals, the Bureau investigates and prosecutes alleged patterns of unlawful discrimination in a variety of areas, including employment, housing, credit, education, and places of public accommodation. The Bureau also engages in community outreach activities to educate the public about civil rights issues. If you believe that you are a victim of a pattern or practice of unlawful discrimination, you can alert our office by downloading and completing the Bureau's online complaint form, and returning it by mail or fax.

Learn more visit the Civil Recoveries Bureau homepage.

The Claims Bureau is responsible for defending the State against actions falling primarily into three categories: tort and medical malpractice claims for personal injury or property damage alleged to have been caused by the State or its employees; litigation involving disputes in connection with State contracts; and court actions contesting the amount of money the State is to pay in the condemnation of private property for public use.

Learn more visit the Claims Bureau homepage.

The Litigation Bureaus (one in New York City and one in Albany) represent the State, its officers and agencies in state and federal courts in actions involving almost every substantive area of the law. The Bureaus protect the public interest by defending constitutional challenges to state statutes, regulations, policies and practices and by upon occasion bringing actions to enforce state laws and regulations.

The Bureaus’ major clients include the Departments of State, Health, Taxation and Finance, Insurance, Civil Service, Education, Correctional Services, Banking, Motor Vehicles, Housing and Community Renewal, as well as the Offices of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, Children and Family Services and Temporary and Disability Assistance, the State’s major educational institutions, the State Police and the State judiciary.

Learn more visit the Litigation Bureau homepage.

Real Property
The Real Property Bureau provides legal assistance to State agencies and authorities in connection with the acquisition and disposition of real property. The office investigates titles, clears liens, prepares deeds and various closing documents, and facilitates the closing of title. In addition to purchases and dispositions, the Bureau handles all of the State’s eminent domain transactions by reviewing and certifying title, clearing liens, preparing closing papers, and certifying payment. The Bureau also represents the State in court proceedings involving disputes over the State’s title to lands acquired for public use.

Learn more visit the Real Property Bureau homepage.

Sex Offender Management Unit
On April 13, 2007, the Sex Offender Management and Treatment Act (SOMTA) became effective to enhance public safety by providing for the civil management of recidivistic sex offenders upon the expiration of their criminal sentence. The New York Legislature found that recidivistic sex offenders pose a danger to society that should be addressed through comprehensive programs of treatment and management. SOMTA provides for management of sex offenders through care, treatment, and control in a secure treatment facility in the custody of the Commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) for the most dangerous offenders; or through a regimen of strict and intensive supervision and treatment (SIST), for those offenders who can safely be managed in the community, under close supervision by the New York State Division of Parole. As part of SOMTA Article 10 was added to the New York Mental Hygiene Law (“MHL”), which establishes the procedural provisions for the civil management of sex offenders.

SOMU was created by the Attorney General to represent the state of New York in all Article 10 litigation. SOMU works in concert with the Article 10 partners, the Office of Sex Offender Management within the Division of Criminal Justice Services, NYS Department of Correctional Services, NYS Office of Mental Health, NYS Division of Parole, and the NYS Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities to develop statewide protocol to further the goals of Article 10 to enhance public safety.

Learn more visit the SOMU homepage.