Published: May 10, 2010 9:53 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.  - Two former Florida attorney generals will be leading a legal team to represent the state on issues resulting from a runaway oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

Jim Smith, who was attorney general between 1979 and 1987 and later served several years as secretary of state, joins his successor, Bob Butterworth, in heading up the team. Butterworth was attorney general from 1987 to 2000.

The team will help Florida recover damages from BP. Gov. Charlie Crist and Attorney General Bill McCollum both said on Monday they're hopeful the state can avoid costly litigation and have been assured by the giant oil company that all claims will be paid. But, both men said, they must be prepared if talks dissipate.