Maria Colsey Heard

Member

Washington, D.C.

(202) 471-3419

(202) 861-1905

Maria has represented clients being sued or investigated by state attorneys general (AGs), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and other government entities for more than 25 years. She understands the procedural, substantive, and reputational complexities unique to government investigations, and helps her clients navigate the terrain and preserve their rights.

A significant portion of Maria’s practice centers on issues relating to product or service marketing, customer service, labeling, and other consumer protection issues; hazardous waste, electronic waste, and other environmental issues; data privacy and security; consumer privacy and data breaches; business licensing and regulation; and unclaimed property. She represents clients in a wide variety of industry sectors, including pharmaceuticals, nutrition/dietary supplements, data management, consumer debt, consumer lending, telecommunications, hospitality, automotive, retail, grocery, security, and real estate. Her clients include Fortune 100 companies, local businesses, charities, nonprofit organizations, and trade associations.

Whether guiding a client through the unique pre-litigation investigations that state AGs can conduct (including negotiating the governments’ requests for business documents and interviews), handling government litigation, or anything in between, Maria seeks creative solutions to mitigate her clients’ risk and reach a favorable resolution. She also has crafted legislative and other public policy solutions to legal challenges.

Maria’s other focus is on class action settlements. She has negotiated settlements of product liability claims and developed the administrative framework for national settlement programs. Maria also has defended class settlements against attacks on appeal and collaterally.

Maria works in close partnership with her clients, building relationships with key personnel to develop a granular understanding of the client’s business, challenges, and goals so that she can craft a tailored strategy, both to resolve the immediate matter at hand and help pave the way forward. Her goal is to address regulator interest arising from customer complaints and resolve government inquiries while allowing clients’ businesses to continue operating with as little interruption as possible.

Experience

News

Cozen O’Connor Launches New State Attorneys General Practice with Addition of Nationally Acclaimed State AG Practice

May 05, 2015

On the heels of its recent announcement of the addition of 60 lawyers in Chicago, Cozen O’Connor is proud to announce the addition of ten attorneys and government professionals and the formation of the firm’s State Attorneys General Practice.

Publications

State AG Pulse | Local Job, National Impact

June 13, 2022

In this week’s episode, Lori gets together with fellow State AG Group members Maria Colsey Heard and Ann-Marie Luciano to talk about the evolution of the DC Office of the Attorney General into a national powerhouse, Karl Racine’s legacy as its first elected AG, and this year’s contentious race.

State AGs Intensify Focus on Employee Rights in the Pandemic

February 16, 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused state attorneys general to accelerate their workplace enforcement efforts and is reshaping the issues businesses must consider to avoid regulatory risk. Cozen O’Connor State AG Group partners Maria Colsey Heard and Ann-Marie Luciano explain what steps businesses should take to respond. Read the Bloomberg Law piece here or here.

November 13, 2018 Deadline Approaching for Comments on IRS Rules Relating to Reporting and Tax Deductions of State AG Settlements [The State AG Report Blog]

October 25, 2018

The process of ironing out settlements of state attorney general (“AG”) investigations and litigations is likely to get more complicated.  The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“Act”), among the many other things it did, amended a key provision of the Internal Revenue Code (“Code”), 26 U.S.C. § 162, which...

AG Consumer Protection Staff Meet for Semi-Annual Seminar: Financial Technology, Consumer Lending, and Settlement Annuities in Focus [The State AG Report Blog]

October 06, 2016

This week, consumer protection staff from State Attorneys General Offices across the country met at the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Consumer Protection Seminar in Phoenix, Arizona.  This semi-annual meeting is one of the key opportunities during the year for AG staff to convene,...

Businesses Have the Mic at the NAAG Consumer Protection Seminar [The State AG Report Blog]

May 24, 2016

Consumer protection staff from State Attorney General offices around the country are in Washington, D.C., this week to attend the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) 2016 Spring Consumer Protection Seminar. This twice-a-year seminar provides government officials and staff an opportunity...

Events & Seminars

Past Events

Will You Be Ready If An AG Calls?

December 07, 2015 - Washington, D.C.

Education

  • The George Washington University, J.D., with honors, 1993
  • La Salle University, B.A., maxima cum laude, 1990
  • District of Columbia
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania