The Legislature has granted the Attorney General broad civil powers and duties. These include acting as the sole legal advisor for all “officers, Departments, boards, bodies, commissions and instrumentalities of State government.” The legal representation of those Departments and agencies is the obligation of the Division of Law and it is through this Division that the Attorney General performs most duties relating to his statutory role as chief counsel for the State, responsible for enforcement of public duties and responsibilities and protection of the public interest.
The Division of Law was created on March 7, 1944. In the performance of its mission, the Division of Law has a broad scope of work. Whether it is in protecting an abused child, ensuring that a polluter pays fair cleanup costs, or defending the State against a claim, the approximately 500 Deputy Attorneys General that comprise the Division of Law each day put forth their best efforts. The Division is responsible for approximately 29,000 legal matters pending in federal and State trial and appellate courts and administrative forums. Of these, some 13,000 are litigation matters pending in trial courts; approximately 11,000 are administrative cases pending in the Office of Administrative Law and Worker’s Compensation Court; and 1,700 are appeals before State and federal appellate courts, including the New Jersey and U.S. Supreme Courts. In addition, the Division of Law provides legal advice and counsel to the Governor and all departments, boards and commissions within State government.
While the number of attorneys assigned to the Division may appear large, when the legal work generated by the 16 Departments and over 400 agencies of State government is allocated among these attorneys, the individual workload of each Deputy Attorney General becomes substantial.
Under the supervision of the Attorney General, responsibility for management of the Division lies with its Director. The Division includes 7 practice groups, headed by Assistant Attorneys General, which in turn consist of 25 sections to which most of the Division’s attorneys are assigned. The sections are supervised by Section Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs