Each year, the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) is proud to honor members of the attorney general community for their outstanding achievements and invaluable contributions to the work of the organization. These coveted awards honor the many efforts of the hardworking and passionate staff and leaders from attorneys general offices who devote their unique talents and abilities to serving the public and making NAAG a cornerstone for the attorney general community.
The Kelley-Wyman Memorial Award
The Kelley-Wyman Memorial Award, considered to be NAAG’s most prestigious annual award, is presented to the attorney general who has done the most to advance the objectives of NAAG each year.
This year, NAAG presented Montana Attorney General Tim Fox with the Kelley-Wyman Memorial Award. Throughout his tenure as NAAG President, General Fox has worked relentlessly to foster and cultivate bipartisanship efforts through his 2020 Presidential Initiative, which he devoted to civility and excellence in leadership.
The Senior Staff of the Year Award
The Senior Staff of the Year Award is presented to members of the attorney general management staff who continue to distinguish themselves by providing exceptional service to NAAG and the attorney general community through exemplary leadership, expertise, and achievement. This year, NAAG honored the following individuals with the Senior Staff of the Year Award:
Loren AliKhan is the Solicitor General for the District of Columbia Attorney General’s Office. As Solicitor General, AliKhan oversees the D.C. Office of the Attorney General’s appellate litigation, which consists primarily of the D.C. Court of Appeals, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. She is responsible for coordinating the office’s amicus curiae and multistate practice, through which she has demonstrated a consistently excellent ability to marshal coalitions across party lines. AliKhan was recognized as a Senior Staff of Year award recipient due to the relentless work ethic, impeccable judgement, legal aptitude, and leadership abilities. Her outstanding work for the D.C. Attorney General’s Office has left a lasting impact on her colleagues and community.
Christiana Grossi serves at the Chief Deputy on the Michigan Attorney General’s Office. She first joined the office ten years ago, and quickly rose through the ranks by demonstrating her leadership abilities, talent, and drive. Her dedication to justice has directly impacted the wellbeing of the citizens of Michigan. For example, she was instrumental in the investigation into the culpability of Michigan State University’s handling of the Larry Nassar molestation cases. Most recently, Grossi worked tirelessly with other state attorney general offices to ensure that the U.S. Postal Service expeditated the delivery of ballots from areas that were experiencing significant delays. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been a reliable source of leadership, calm, and encouragement for her team and colleagues, exemplifying her character and passion for going the extra mile to care for those around her.
Michael J. Myers is the Senior Counsel for Air Pollution and Climate Change Litigation in the Environmental Protection Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office. Since joining the office in 1999, Myers has worked tirelessly to support and coordinate multi-state environmental initiatives. He has supported the interests of NAAG members, state agencies, and public interest groups
in the areas of regulatory comments and litigation, and consistently puts the best interest of the public at the heart of his work. Myers experience, professionalism, and outstanding interpersonal skills have propelled him to navigate the intricacies of shifting coalitions and evolving state positions on climate issues. He is now known and recognized as a national expert in Clean Air Act litigation and climate change issues.
The Attorney General Career Staff Award
The Attorney General Career Staff Award recognizes career employees in attorney general offices who stand out for providing exceptional service to NAAG and the nation’s attorneys general through exemplary expertise and achievement. This year, NAAG honored the following individuals with the Attorney General Career Staff Award:
Michael Leftwich currently serves as a deputy attorney general in the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office, and first joined the office in 2001. Over the last nineteen years, he has diligently worked to enforce the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement, serves on the Lead Counsel Oversight Committee, and is also the Senior Director of Projects for the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office, amongst several other roles. Leftwich’s tireless efforts and expertise of the tobacco negotiations has contributed to his impactful work in contributing to the multistate efforts to resolve opioid litigation and obtain desperately needed relief for states and territories. His proven ability and leadership has earned the respect of his peers and opposing counsel.
Jenni Peacock joined the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office in 2002 and currently serves as a senior assistant attorney general. Her work in the Consumer Protection Division of the Office has made her stand out as a recipient for this award. She has served in a leadership role on several multistate investigations and complex litigation. Peacock was instrumental in starting the multistate investigations into the various opioid manufacturers and distributors that led to settlement discussions over the last three years. She has remained devoted to the multistate effort to resolve the opioid litigation and protect consumers, and has been a key player in ensuring that these multistate settlement efforts continue forward.
Charles Saunders is an assistant attorney general in the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office and has served the office for the last thirteen years. His dedication, integrity, leadership, and collaboration with colleagues across the nation made him a standout candidate for the Attorney General Senior Staff Award. Since 2014, Saunders has served as the lead assistant attorney general on tobacco matters for the Arkansas Attorney General Office, including negotiating the largest dispute that has arisen under the MSA. He continues to serve as one of three assistant attorneys general on the Data Clearinghouse Fund Technical Working group, which oversees a $16 million fund for the benefit of signatory states. His knowledge of the MSA and tobacco related issues, as well as his communication skills have continuously proved to be an invaluable asset to NAAG and his colleagues across the country.
Paul Singer is Senior Counsel for Public Protection in the Texas Attorney General’s Office. Prior to joining the executive management team, he served with the Consumer Protection division for almost twenty years, working in a variety of positions, most recently as Division Chief. In 2018, Singer was awarded with the NAGTRI Faculty of the Year award and continues to speak at national conferences on a variety of technology, privacy, and consumer protection issues. He has been a pivotal part of the continuing multistate opioid settlement efforts and has worked continuously to ensure that relief is provided for the victims of opioid abuse in each state and territory.
Barbara Whaley is an Assistant Attorney General for the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office and has served the office with distinction for 37 years. She has prosecuted hundreds of cases across the Commonwealth and has worked with nine Kentucky attorneys general. During her time at the office, Whaley has worked as both an Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Special Prosecutions and as the Executive Director of Kentucky’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. She has led multistate litigation efforts to help recoup Medicaid dollars, drafted state legislation and protocols in the areas of child and elder abuse, and led state and national trainings on domestic violence and human trafficking. Whaley has continuously utilized her institutional knowledge for the benefit of others and advancing the protection of victims of crime.