Barbara Underwood has become acting New York State Attorney General following the sudden resignation of Eric Schneiderman.

The 73-year-old Underwood had been the state's Solicitor General for the past 11 years. She is the first woman to serve as New York attorney general.

Underwood was sworn in Tuesday afternoon by New York Chief Judge Janet DiFiore.

Underwood became the attorney general several hours after Schneiderman announced he would step down in the aftermath of allegations of physical abuse made by four women.

In a statement, Underwood said the work of the state attorney general's office "is critically important." Despite the abrupt departure of Schneiderman, Underwood said the "office has never been stronger" and its "tireless team of public servants will ensure that our work continues without interruption."

Lawmakers in Albany have been meeting behind closed doors to discuss who will be named to serve as attorney general. Underwood will serve in the post until the legislature has chosen a successor.

In November, New York voters will decide who will be the state's attorney general for the next four years.

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