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Former Mass. AG Scott Harshbarger moves to local law firm

Former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger.
Steven Senne/Associated Press/file
Former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger.

After helping a big New York firm build its Boston practice for the past 10 years, former attorney general Scott Harshbarger has made the move to a smaller Boston law firm.

Harshbarger joined Casner & Edwards, a 40-lawyer firm, earlier this month as senior counsel focusing on litigation and nonprofit services. He came there from Proskauer Rose, where he was senior counsel and chaired the firm’s national pro bono initiative.

“The fact of the matter was they made decisions not to expand dramatically into a lot of the areas that my practice has been developing in,” Harshbarger said.

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In particular, Harshbarger said he currently focuses on regulatory and government work, as well as advisory services for for-profit and nonprofit boards, ethics, and investigations.

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At a smaller firm like Casner & Edwards, the “fee structures are much more palatable and acceptable” to nonprofits and smaller businesses, he said.

“From our point of view, Scott’s strengths are our strengths,” said John Morrier, managing partner at Casner & Edwards. “We’ve traditionally been very strong at representing nonprofits and [small and mid-sized] privately held or family-held businesses.”

Harshbarger said he expects some of his clients will follow him, while others will stay with Proskauer.

Harshbarger is best known in Massachusetts for his time as state attorney general, for most of the 1990s. He worked in Washington for about three years, from 1999 through 2002, as the chief executive of Common Cause. He then worked for Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, a Quincy-based law firm, for about two years before joining Proskauer in 2005.

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He continued to remain in the spotlight in recent years by serving on a number of high-profile boards and commissions, including a role chairing a task force that examined ways to reform hiring and promotion in the state’s probations department.

“Scott’s contacts in this city and in New England run deep,” Morrier said.

Jon Chesto can be reached at jon.chesto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.