While specific duties of a state attorney general vary by jurisdiction, all have the responsibility of acting as the state's chief legal advisor, as well as the state's chief law enforcement officer. In some states, the attorney general is also the head of the state's Department of Justice.
A state attorney general acts as the head of a state's Department of Law. As the head, the attorney general assumes the position of the "People's Lawyer," and acts a guardian of the legal rights of the state's citizens, its organizations and its natural resources. He is also an advocate for the people in areas such as child enforcement, consumer protections and antitrust regulation.
As an advisor, the state attorney general has a responsibility to submit formal opinions and offer counsel to the governor and the state legislature, as well as boards, commissions and other state agencies.
Other responsibilities of a state attorney general include the proposal of new legislation, enforcement of environmental laws and handling of criminal appeals. The governor may request that the state attorney general undertake major criminal investigations and prosecutions. If necessary, the state attorney general also has the power to institute civil suits on behalf of the state.