Melissa Murphy Weber on life inside the courtroom and outside of politics
Published in 2007 Pennsylvania Rising Stars magazine
By Kathryn Finegan Clark on November 27, 2007
There are a lot of adjectives that fit litigator and former state representative Melissa Murphy Weber, but perhaps the editors of the Pennsylvania Report, a political insiders newsletter, said it best: “multidimensional.”
At 38, Weber has racked up a lifetime of experience in criminal and civil law, politics and sports. In college, she captained Denison University’s nationally ranked women’s lacrosse team. In law school at Widener, she won best brief and best advocacy awards in national competitions. As assistant D.A. in Montgomery County, she tried dozens of cases and was captain of the county’s domestic violence unit.
Then came politics. In 2002, Republican recruiters from Lower Merion asked her to run for an open seat in the general assembly. A fiscal conservative and social moderate, she was hesitant at first, but warmed to the idea.
“I did a lot of victims’ rights and child abuse/domestic violence cases in the D.A.’s office, work that I considered noble and rewarding,” she says. “I thought if I could take that experience to Harrisburg, I could help even more people.”
So she did. And even though her tenure in Harrisburg was brief—she was turned out by voters in 2004 in an anti-Bush wave that washed over her district—she left her mark, particularly in regard to children’s health.
“One of my bills that became law corrected a major danger to children who suffer from asthma,” she says. As a result, inhaler-dependent children are now permitted to carry their medicine with them all day instead of having to check it at the nurse’s office at school.
Today as a shareholder at Elliott Greenleaf, she digs into a wide variety of matters for clients, ranging from health care to employment issues. She doesn’t rule out a return to politics, but for now is happy being back in court. “I love executing strategy and being able to react to the moves of my opponent,” she says.
And she refuses to be outworked. “You can’t be too prepared,” she says.
Which is another word that suits her well.
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