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Former Supreme Court Justice Marshall Rothstein is seen in this file photo.

FRED CHARTRAND/CP

Retired Supreme Court of Canada justice Marshall Rothstein has joined well-known Vancouver boutique law firm Hunter Litigation Chambers.

The 23-lawyer firm said on Monday that Mr. Rothstein will focus on acting as an arbitrator in complex commercial and public law cases, but will also provide Hunter clients with legal advice and opinions.

Mr. Rothstein, 74, was former prime minister Stephen Harper's first appointee to the Supreme Court of Canada in 2006 and spent nine years on the top bench before retiring in August.

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He was generally regarded as one the Supreme Court's conservative voices, and was valued for his expertise in business cases, particularly in the areas of tax law and intellectual property law.

After his retirement, he told Lawyers Weekly that he planned to keep working : "I don't play golf and I don't play bridge, so what can I do – I have to work."

He was the primary author behind at least 99 Supreme Court decisions during his tenure. Among his most notable was a 2011 unanimous decision that upheld the powers of the Income Tax Act's so-called general anti-avoidance rule, which allows the Canada Revenue Agency to deny benefits to a taxpayer for a transaction entered into solely to take advantage of a tax loophole.

It has become routine for retired Supreme Court justices to return to private practice, often in advisory roles at major law firms or with an eye on doing private arbitration work.

Ian Binnie, who left the top court in 2011, landed at Toronto litigation firm Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP and is also an arbitrator at Toronto-based Arbitration Place.

Louise Arbour, who left the Supreme Court in 2004 and went on to serve as president of the International Crisis Group, joined Borden Ladner Gervais LLP last year. Frank Iacobucci joined Torys LLP after leaving the court in 2004.

Born in Winnipeg, Mr. Rothstein attended law school at the University of Manitoba and was called to the bar in the province in 1966. In private practice, he specialized in litigation in transportation and competition law, as well in commercial and labour arbitration hearings.

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In 1992, he was appointed to the Federal Court of Canada and served as a member of the Competition Tribunal. In 1999, he was appointed to the Federal Court of Appeal.

After he was appointed to the Supreme Court by Mr. Harper in 2006, Mr. Rothstein was the first Supreme Court appointee subjected to questioning by an ad-hoc parliamentary committee, a practice the previous government brought in but later abandoned.

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