A former Virginia Attorney General (AG) and Virginia Secretary of Public Safety, Jerry offers his clients facing State AG and other governmental investigations the benefit of counsel with 360-degree perspective, gained through a combination of private practice, government service, and political involvement. His distinguished political career has afforded Jerry connections at all levels within State AG offices, and bi-partisan respect within the AG community. He has earned a reputation as a trusted legal and policy adviser on both sides of the aisle, and is politically active at the local, state, and federal levels. This diverse experience has honed Jerry’s ability to identify the appropriate route to take in any given circumstance to efficiently advance his clients’ interests.
Jerry advises clients — including market disrupters, companies in transition, industry leaders, and trade associations — in connection with important government investigations and consumer protection matters, and the interplay with Attorneys General and public policy. He is also a seasoned litigator and has significant experience handling multi-state actions. In recent years, Jerry has focused his practice on businesses in higher education (including for-profit colleges and universities), healthcare, cannabis, energy, timeshares, and the hospitality industry. Jerry also has significant experience in the FinTech arena, particularly with respect to products and platforms directed toward consumers, such as payment and loan technologies.
In all matters he handles, Jerry operates from a position of positivity, firm in his conviction that the challenge confronting his client can and will be met. He uses the insider’s perspective he gained from his service as Virginia Attorney General to navigate paths that might elude some — and to blaze new ones where needed — to reach a solution with which all stakeholders are comfortable.
As attorney general of Virginia from 2002-2005, Jerry served on the executive committee of the National Association of Attorneys General and as chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association. He worked with the federal government, the state legislature, and other stakeholders to promote a business friendly environment. Jerry served as secretary of public safety under Governor George Allen from 1994 to 1998 and as assistant U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia from 1987-1992. He also has significant prior experience as a state-level lobbyist.
Jerry donates time to building legislative and executive support for America’s Kids Belong/Virginia Kids Belong, a program to encourage the adoption of children out of foster care. He also serves as chairman of the board of Appalachian School of Law.
Advised medical cannabis start-up Dharma Pharmaceuticals in connection with its successful application to the Virginia Board of Pharmacy for a vertically integrated cultivating, processing, and dispensing facility permit. Fifty-one companies competed for only five available medical cannabis licenses, and Dharma Pharmaceuticals was selected over a number of larger companies. The Cozen O'Connor team continues to represent Dharma Pharmaceuticals on issues pertaining to its license and before the Virginia General Assembly and Administration on legislative issues regarding medical cannabis in Virginia.