Bloomberg Law
Feb. 28, 2023, 10:30 AM

They’ve Got Next: State Attorneys General Fresh Face Peter Ketcham-Colwill

Alex Ebert
Alex Ebert
Staff Correspondent

In a town full of political junkies, Washington-based litigator Peter Ketcham-Colwill has some street cred: He’s tromped through the snow to knock on doors for the Des Moines, Iowa caucuses and he worked on-site in Ohio for a 2016 presidential election campaign.

That came after he’d already dived into policy wonkery during two years as a staffer for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. There he worked under then-Chairman Henry Waxman (D) on projects including an inquiry into the 2010 Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Now at Cohen Milstein, Ketcham-Colwill gets to combine these politics and policy interests to help attorney general clients with high-profile consumer protection cases.

“This practice really dovetailed remarkably well into my joint interests in the policy side of things—from my time on the hill and a public policy major in college—the political side that I got a healthy taste of on the campaigns, as well as litigation, which I got exposure to as a clerk before coming to Cohen Milstein,” he said.

Last year his work helped bring home a $10 million settlement for Chicago restaurants in December 2022. It was the culmination of the city’s two-year investigation into Uber’s practice of listing Chicago restaurants on its food delivery platforms without their consent, allegedly violating Chicago’s emergency caps on delivery fees. The matter was settled before a lawsuit was filed.

Stephen Kane, Deputy Corporation Counsel in the City of Chicago’s Department of Law, said in an emailed statement: “Peter has been an invaluable resource in helping the City navigate technological issues in the meal-delivery industry. And Peter’s legal guidance was critical to shaping the City’s settlement with UberEats, which generated millions of dollars for Chicago’s restaurants.”

Despite working in Democratic Party politics, Ketcham-Colwill has a bipartisan practice. He’s helped Republican-controlled Indiana with suits against the opioid industry and the Sacklers, the founders of Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin.

Like other states, Indiana sought to hold opioid industry players accountable for the rise in pain medicine addiction that contributed to a national spike in overdose deaths. The complaints claim producers and distributors ignored addiction issues and profited from the opioid epidemic. Indiana filed its cases in state court, and has received over half a billion dollars in compensation for its recovery funds through settlements.

Betsy A. Miller, a partner in Cohen Milstein’s Washington office and chair of the firm’s public client practice, said “Peter is articulate, insightful, and hard-working, and his personal and deep involvement in some of our highest-stakes cases is unusual for an attorney of his age.”

“He has a finely tuned sense of judgment, discretion and wit. He has a deep understanding of how to work with elected officials and government lawyers,” she said.

Ketcham-Colwill sees his job as helping state attorneys general meet their consumer protection goals—a point of emphasis with an increasingly complex set of issues.

There’s growth potential for outside counsel here because states are growing more interested in the “dark practices” of financial technology companies, including terms of service or features on apps that might violate consumer protection rules, he said.

“Fintech is blowing up. During the pandemic so many more people stated using these banking services or financial services that hadn’t before,” he said.

In his latest big case Ketcham-Colwill is helping Hawaii sue PayPal, alleging that the company’s Venmo app unlawfully violates users’ privacy. He said it’s an example of how his team can help bring big cases public offices might not have the resources to take on solo.

“Everybody would like to be able to right all the wrongs in the world. But even the biggest offices don’t have enough resources to track down every fraudster,” he said. “Our basic value proposition is that we can bring outside resources and add to the resources that they already have.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Ebert in Madison, Wisconsin at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lisa Helem at; MP McQueen at

Learn more about Bloomberg Law or Log In to keep reading:

Learn About Bloomberg Law

AI-powered legal analytics, workflow tools and premium legal & business news.

Already a subscriber?

Log in to keep reading or access research tools.