Former Supreme Court Justice Ronnie L. White (center)

ST. LOUIS -- Recently retired Missouri Supreme Court Justice Ronnie L. White could soon be eyeballing his ex-colleagues from the opposite side of the bench in big civil suits. White on Monday confirmed he had joined the firm of personal-injury specialists Holloran, White & Schwarz, LLP (HWS) as a partner. The move had been rumored in St. Louis legal circles for several weeks. He will specialize in "civil trials, appeals, and business litigation representing investors, shareholders and small business owners," partner Thomas Schwartz said in a press release Monday. White, 54 and Missouri's first African-American Supreme Court Justice, announced his retirement in late May, effective July 6. He cited financial concerns as one reason for his mid-term decision to leave the bench. White's departure means Gov. Matt Blunt becomes the first Republican in 15 years to choose a new Supreme Court Justice. He is currently applying heat to the Appellate Judicial Commission for at least one conservative among the three finalists it sends him. White's new firm was previously Holloran, Stewart & Schwartz and specialized in Medical Malpractice nad Alternative Dispute Resolution. The new firm with White on board will focus on a broad range of civil litigation such as personal injury, product liability and toxic torts. White stated that he joined HWS to "engage in the challenge of complex litigation on the appellate level while making a difference in my community." White was elevated to the Missouri Supreme Court in 1995 by Gov. Mel Carnahan after stints as a Democratic House Rep. and Court of Appeals Judge. He was rejected as a Federal Court Judge in 1999 but later served as Supreme Court Chief Justice from 2003 until 2005. The new HWS has access to 100 of the nation's leading trial attorneys by invitiation only, the firm's web-site states. Qualifiers must have tried at least 50 PI cases and won "at least three verdicts over $1 million or one verdict in excess of $10 million."

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