ATLANTA - Georgia Supreme Court Justice Keith R. Blackwell has left the bench to rejoin his former law firm.

Blackwell, who retired from the court on Wednesday, will join Atlanta-based Alston & Bird LLP in January as senior counsel of the firm’s Litigation & Trial Practice Group. He began his career there in 2000.

“Justice Blackwell is a judge’s judge,” said Richard Hays, Alston & Bird’s chairman and managing partner. “He is a superbly talented and devoted jurist whose consummate high standards, impartiality and judicial temperament left a lasting mark on the court and the state. He will be a strong voice and advocate for our clients.”

Blackwell was appointed to the state Supreme Court by then-Gov. Nathan Deal in 2012. Before that, he served for two years on the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Before becoming a judge, Blackwell worked as an assistant district attorney in Cobb County and as a deputy special attorney general.

Blackwell wrote more than 400 published opinions during his time on the bench. He also served as the Supreme Court’s liaison to the State Bar of Georgia, the Board of Bar Examiners and the Board to Determine the Fitness of Bar Applicants.

“Justice Blackwell brings a remarkably broad and distinguished body of judicial experience to our firm and our clients,” said Jim Grant, co-leader of Alston & Bird’s Litigation Practice. “His 10 years on the bench handling thousands of appeals, plus his experience as a former prosecutor and attorney in private practice, make him an extraordinary resource and advocate for our clients in complex appellate and litigation matters in state courts around the country.”

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