Former New York State Attorney General, Dennis C. Vacco, is a Partner with Lippes Mathias and serves on the firm's Executive Committee and as the Government & Corporate Investigations Practice Team Co-Leader.  Mr. Vacco was elected New York State Attorney General in 1994 and served until 1999. In 1988, he was appointed United States Attorney for the Western District of New York by President Ronald Reagan after serving 10 years as an Assistant District Attorney in Erie County.

He focuses much of his legal practice on government investigations and compliance work. Mr. Vacco works both with clients to ensure they are in compliance with the complex and ever-changing laws and regulations of both the state and federal governments. Much of his practice involves State Attorney General investigations as well as investigations by the United States Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Department of Homeland Security.  Mr. Vacco also leads Lippes Mathias' Israel-U.S. Cross Border Practice which has developed a strategic partnership with a leading Israeli law firm.  Mr. Vacco, who has traveled frequently to Israel, has represented Israeli businesses that conduct business in the United States.  Mr. Vacco has also presented at seminars and makes media appearances to discuss the regulatory environment for Israeli businesses in the United States.  Mr. Vacco from time to time serves as a consultant to clients with matters before State Attorney Generals.  Notably in this regard, he advised a major international corporation that was the focus of a climate change lawsuit brought by the New York Attorney General.

As New York Attorney General, Mr. Vacco expanded the traditional role of the Attorney General by resurrecting the long dormant criminal prosecution powers of the office. He then used the expanded purview of his office to form the nation’s first Internet Child Pornography unit targeting online predators. His distinguished career has seen him before the United States Supreme Court in the case of Vacco v. Quill where he successfully argued that Physician Assisted Suicide was not a constitutionally protected right. Also in his role as Attorney General, he served as lead negotiator in the multi-state litigation against the tobacco industry and was a principal signatory to the Master Settlement Agreement (“MSA”), and directed other multi-state investigations, including an anti-trust case against Microsoft. 
Prior to joining Lippes Mathias, Mr. Vacco honed his entrepreneurial skills as president of Waste Management of New York, LLC, a subsidiary of Houston-based Waste Management Inc. (“WMI”).

Articles & Publications

  • Author, "Supreme Court Decision Strengthens Investigations for Discrimination," Banking New York, May 2016

  • New York
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York

  • University at Buffalo School of Law, J.D.
  • Colgate University

Community Involvement
  • Business Council of New York State, Board of Directors

Honors & Awards
  • City & State New York, Law Power 100, 2022-2023
  • The Best Lawyers in America©, 2021-2024
    • "Lawyer of the Year," Corporate Compliance Law, 2024
  • Lincoln Leadership Award
  • Business First of Buffalo and Buffalo Law Journal, Legal Elite of WNY, 2014-2019
  • Upstate New York SuperLawyers®, 2022-2023

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