Kathleen Hart works as an administrative law judge all day, with duties that include adjudicating workers’ comp cases and disputes over medical fees. But when she’s off the clock for her paid job, she’s often using her skills elsewhere. Among her efforts, Hart joined the city council of Webster Groves in 2004, working to foster consensus among the council members while also improving the city’s financial picture.
What are your proudest career accomplishments?
Before my terms on the city council, Webster Groves had persistent budget deficits. During my 12 years on the council, we worked as a team to create a fiscally stable environment, strong reserves and balanced budgets. We earned several distinguished budget awards and consistently had clean audit reports. We made substantial capital improvements and upgraded equipment for our police and fire departments, and without personnel layoffs or a tax increase.
What inspired you to get involved in the public service or justice system?
As a kid, I saw my dad, his brother Richard, and his cousin Mike, talk about their latest cases. They loved the practice of law, and the camaraderie of the legal community. I also saw my mom volunteer for just about everything in our parish and our schools, and she soon became our parish school principal.
What is the best advice you have given or received?
Get active in the bar association. I served on the Young Lawyers’ Section Council of the Missouri Bar and on the Young Lawyers’ Division and Board of Governors of BAMSL. Through these associations, I had the opportunity to participate in so many community service projects, and I met lawyers from across the state, many of whom are still my closest friends.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Even though we are a specialized court, we often deal with very complex medical situations and our cases frequently are tied to other litigation. This gives us the opportunity to learn about so many other areas of the law and medicine.