The policy potentially affects thousands of lawyers at scores of firms and is being enforced through the use of technology that scans the faces of people entering venues owned by MSG and checks them against a databank of lawyers from banned firms.
The attorney general's office said research has shown that facial recognition software "may be plagued with biases and false positives against people of color and women."
The attorney general is asking MSG to respond by Feb. 13 and identify efforts the company is making to ensure compliance with applicable anti-discrimination laws.
In a statement, a representative for MSG said the policy “does not unlawfully prohibit anyone from entering our venues and it is not our intent to dissuade attorneys from representing plaintiffs in litigation against us. We are merely excluding a small percentage of lawyers only during active litigation.”
The statement continued, “Our policy has never applied to attorneys representing plaintiffs who allege sexual harassment or employment discrimination.”
MSG representatives have previously also said it wasn't “unreasonable” that MSG would want to protect against “improper disclosure and discovery” during active litigation.
New York state lawmakers introduced a bill earlier this week that would prohibit sports venues including Madison Square Garden from refusing entry to perceived enemies of their owners.
An MSG spokesperson said the bill’s sponsors were siding with “attorneys representing ticket scalpers and other money grabbers.”