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Dustin McDaniel Joins Cozen O’Connor’s State Attorney General Practice

3 min read

Former Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has announced he will leave his position as head of government relations and commercial litigation practice at McDaniel Wolff PLLC of Little Rock to become co-chair of Cozen O’Connor’s State Attorneys General Group, effective June 30.

Philadelphia-based Cozen O’Connor is an international law firm with practices in litigation, business law and government relations. The firm’s State AG Group has been co-chaired for the last decade by Lori Kalani, who is now the first chief responsible gaming officer for DraftKings of Boston, and Bernard Nash, who is retiring. 

Jerry Kilgore, a former attorney general of Virginia, is the current chair of the group. Kilgore and McDaniel will officially become co-chairs July 1.

Born in Fayetteville and raised in Jonesboro, McDaniel graduated from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and earned his law degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s William H. Bowen School of Law. He was Arkansas’ attorney general from 2007 to 2015.

“Arkansas is an important state, and the experiences that I’ve had both in private practice and in public life will guide the work that I will do,” McDaniel said over a phone call. “I’m honored that Cozen wants me to bring that experience to their platform to lead this amazing team.” 

In his role as co-chair, McDaniel will help guide the team, which counsels clients on state AG matters. He will also work to develop solutions for state AG and federal policies that impact Cozen’s clients.

McDaniel said his early goals are to learn the inside workings of the practice group. He wants to invest “a lot of time” getting to know team members and learning what they would like to see accomplished.

“My job is to help them, to support them,” McDaniel said. “I want them to feel good about where they go to work every day. I want them to feel good about the quality of work that they do every day. I want them to know that I’m the kind of leader there to serve the team, not the other way around.”

McDaniel said his knowledge and respect of the group, the opportunity to work with a fellow new co-chair and the chance to carry on the work of Kalani and Nash made this a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

“It’ll be very, very important to me to try to live up to their faith,” McDaniel said. “But then the idea that Jerry Kilgore and I are going to get to rebuild it and reshape it [is exciting]. No matter how wonderful anything is, it always needs to be revised, reviewed and reconsidered for the future. I believe that is what Jerry and I can do with it over the course of the next 15 or 20 years. It will be epic.”

The Future for McDaniel Wolff

Looking ahead, McDaniel Wolff said in a press release it will continue to offer clients a full range of services. The firm will also be growing its state capital footprint with an office expansion this fall. 

McDaniel Wolff also announced that Jonesboro attorney Bobby McDaniel, Dustin McDaniel’s father, has joined McDaniel Wolff as Of Counsel, a senior advisory role. Bobby McDaniel has more than five decades of experience in litigation. He will remain an active partner of McDaniel Law Firm PLC of Jonesboro, which is led by his younger son, Brett McDaniel.

“I am so honored that my dad is coming on to lend his years of experience and to make sure that McDaniel Wolff has the benefit of his counsel,” Dustin McDaniel said. “The firm is solid and I could not do this without their blessing, encouragement and support. My gratitude is deep.”

Managing partner Vince Ward said McDaniel Wolff will retain its name and is currently on track to have a record year.

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