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Politics

Hart returns to Pittsburgh law firm

| Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Former U.S. Rep. Melissa Hart, a Republican who lost her 4th District seat in November, has gone back to a Pittsburgh-based law firm where she worked before entering national politics.

Even so, Hart -- who served three terms in Congress and was considered a rising star before her defeat -- hasn't ruled out trying to win back the seat from U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire, D-McCandless, in 2008.

"I'm giving it thought," she said. "I've had a lot of people ask me to run again."

The law firm of Keevican Weiss Bauerle & Hirsch announced Tuesday that Hart was rejoining the firm, effective immediately.

Hart, 45, of Bradford Woods, said she will specialize in general practice and business development.

"The reason I like public service is because it involves solving problems. That's what lawyers do," she said.

Hart also will be spending time as a fellow at the Commonwealth Foundation, a conservative think tank, working on ideas for "cutting government spending and reining in big government."

It's not surprising the law firm wanted Hart back, said Joseph DiSarro, chairman of the political science department at Washington & Jefferson College.

"She brings a great deal to a law firm," he said. "Whether you hire a (former) legislator or someone from the executive branch -- state or federal -- you have just enhanced your client base. She worked on Capitol Hill as a member of two of the most important committees in Congress, ways and means and financial services.

"She brings to the law firm not only her political contacts but her business and community contacts, and she's a competent lawyer," DiSarro said.

Hart was a lawyer at Keevican Weiss Bauerle & Hirsch for several years before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000.

"It's an honor to have Melissa back among our ranks," said Lee Keevican, managing director of the Downtown firm.

Keevican said Hart's "legal acumen and public service experience" will be assets for the firm, which specializes in business law and has offices in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Cleveland.

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