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Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday named Leecia R. Eve, a rising star in Buffalo legal circles and the daughter of Deputy Assembly Speaker Arthur O. Eve, as her top Washington counsel.

The Buffalo native -- a specialist in commercial, securities and intellectual property litigation -- in 1999 became the first female African-American partner at Hodgson Russ, upstate New York's largest law firm. But she also has previous Washington experience, and her family has vast ties throughout political circles in Washington and New York State.

"I know that because of the breadth and depth of her legal experience, both here in Washington and in New York, and her broad knowledge of policy issues, Leecia will be very effective in assisting me in serving all New Yorkers," Clinton said.

Eve's new appointment brings her back full circle to the nation's capital. She once served there with the private firm of Covington and Burling before signing on as counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee under Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., D-Del.

Now she will tackle a range of issues for New York's new junior senator, including what she termed Clinton's interest in matters before the Judiciary Committee. But she also says she is "incredibly excited" about the potential of her new appointment, despite the fact she has become settled in Buffalo's legal, cultural and civic circles.

"I've got a home just eight blocks from my parents, I've got two German shepherds, and I enjoy the practice of law here at Hodgson Russ," she said Thursday. "That shows how excited I am, that I would
pick up and move. There are few other things I would sacrifice that for."

Eve was alerted to the post by another high-profile member of the Eve family, Eric, a Verizon Corp. executive in Washington who once served in the White House and was a key member of former Vice President Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign.

"I got the call from Eric, who told me they were looking for someone who had both New York and Washington experience," she said. "I thought about it for about two seconds."

A graduate of Buffalo public schools and Smith College, Eve earned her law degree from Harvard Law School and a master's in public administration from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, where she specialized in urban economic development.

She is also the daughter of Constance Eve, a retired Erie Community College professor and member of several community organizations.

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