Alston & Bird announced today that Supreme Court of Georgia Justice Keith R. Blackwell will rejoin the firm as senior counsel in its Litigation & Trial Practice Group. A former litigation associate at Alston & Bird, where he began his career in private practice in 2000, Justice Blackwell will return to the firm in January and be based in its Atlanta office.
“Justice Blackwell is a judge’s judge,” said Alston & Bird Chairman and Managing Partner Richard Hays. “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, and we are pleased to welcome him back to our firm.”
Justice Blackwell, who was appointed to Georgia’s high court in July 2012 by then-Gov. Nathan Deal, retired from the bench on November 18, 2020.
Before his appointment to the court, Justice Blackwell served for two years on the state’s intermediate appellate court, the Court of Appeals, where he was appointed by then-Gov. Sonny Perdue in 2010.
During his time on the bench, Justice Blackwell participated in the disposition of more than 4,000 appeals and approximately 8,000 petitions for certiorari and applications to appeal. He authored more than 400 published opinions. He also served as the Supreme Court’s liaison to the State Bar of Georgia, Board of Bar Examiners, and Board to Determine the Fitness of Bar Applicants.
In addition to his jurist roles, Justice Blackwell served as a deputy special attorney general of the State of Georgia, assistant district attorney in Cobb County, and commercial litigator in private practice. Earlier in his career, he was a law clerk to Judge J.L. Edmondson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
“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.”
Active in a number of professional and legal policy organizations, Justice Blackwell is a master and executive board member of the Joseph Henry Lumpkin American Inn of Court and a master of the Columbus American Inn of Court. He has served as a member of the State Bar of Georgia Committee on Business Courts and Georgia Commission on Dispute Resolution, as well as a guest lecturer in state constitutional law and appellate practice at the University of Georgia School of Law.
“Justice Blackwell’s addition underscores our commitment to add exceptional talent for clients seeking attorneys who can represent them in high-profile disputes,” said Janine Brown, partner in charge of Alston & Bird’s Atlanta office. “He is incredibly well regarded within the Georgia legal community and broader circles nationally for his legal acumen and dedicated public service. We are delighted to welcome him to our team and excited to begin working with him.”
Justice Blackwell is a graduate of the University of Georgia and the University of Georgia School of Law, where he served as senior editor of the Georgia Law Review and graduated summa cum laude as First Honor Graduate.