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Gov. Sununu Nominates New Attorney General
Published Thursday, March 23, 2017

Gordon MacDonald, Gov. Chris Sununu's nominee for NH Attorney General and a partner at Nixon Peabody LLP in Manchester. Photo: Nixon Peabody

Gordon MacDonald, a partner at Nixon Peabody in Manchester, was nominated by Gov. Chris Sununu to serve as the next Attorney General of NH. He will likely receive a confirmation vote at the April 5 Executive Council meeting.

MacDonald works in the commercial litigation practice group at Nixon Peabody and has received recognition from Chambers USA and Benchmark Litigation for his work on commercial and health care cases at the state and federal level. The NH Supreme Court appointed him as chair of both the New Hampshire Board of Bar Examiners and the New Hampshire Supreme Court’s Commission on the New Hampshire Bar in the 21st Century. MacDonald is also a volunteer attorney for the New Hampshire Bar Association’s Domestic Violence Emergency Program and was previously chair of the Leadership Council for the NH Campaign for Legal Services in Concord, which raises funds for civil legal assistance in NH. In 2014, MacDonald received the New Hampshire Bar Association’s Distinguished Service to the Public Award.

Gov. Sununu says MacDonald “has demonstrated exceptional legal talent with the highest levels of respect for the rule of law," adding that he is "widely respected across New Hampshire’s legal community and has earned a sterling reputation for his legal talents and commitment to public service."

Of his nomination, MacDonald says "I am honored to have my name put forward and by the potential to serve our wonderful state. As the state’s chief law enforcement and legal officer, the responsibilities of this office are great."

John Broderick, former NH Chief Justice, says MacDonald "is a wonderful choice for a very demanding job. He is a highly respected lawyer, a very decent and compassionate person of the highest integrity, and a great listener blessed with very sound judgment. He is a superb choice as New Hampshire’s chief law enforcement officer."

In addition to his legal background, MacDonald has experience in public policy, previously working as chief of staff, legislative director and press secretary for NH’s former U.S. Senator Gordon J. Humphrey. Prior to entering private practice, MacDonald was a judicial law clerk to Judge Norman H. Stahl of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

While MacDonald has received praise from the NH legal community, his nomination is not without controversy. An NHPR report says one of MacDonald's clients is Purdue Pharma, the creator of creator of the drug OxyContin and one of five drug makers that have resisted a state subpoena from current NH Attorney General Joseph Foster, which aims to determine if the companies illegally marketed opioid painkillers. That case has been active since Aug. 2015 and gone through numerous appeals.

According to NHPR's story, Andru Volinsky, a Democrat on the Executive Council, says "I don't necessarily like the pharmaceutical company's position, but other than the need for recusal, I don't hold that against Mr. MacDonald." According to a spokesperson for Gov. Sununu contacted by NHPR, Sununu says MacDonald "has every intention of upholding the integrity of the Attorney General's office by recusing himself when necessary."

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