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Retired New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Gary Stein begins a new job this week as counsel to the Hackensack, N.J., firm his son helped establish. After 17 years on the supreme court, Stein will concentrate on commercial litigation, mediation and arbitration at the eight-lawyer firm of Pashman Stein. He retired Thursday. “I did have some other, very attractive opportunities. I just felt that I would be most comfortable at a smaller firm, and be most comfortable working with my son, Michael,” Stein says. “I’m available to help the firm in any way I can.” The younger Stein says he and his father have always been close but have never practiced law together. Justice Stein will be an active member of the firm, his son says. “He wouldn’t be interested in the kind of offer where he gets a big corner office and just has to show his face every now and then,” Michael Stein says of his father. Stein says he also will teach a “self-designed” class next spring at Rutgers Law School-Newark on cases pending before the state supreme court. He says he looks forward to the “rejuvenation” he experiences when working with law students. Gov. James McGreevey appointed Democrat Barry Albin, a partner at Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer in Woodbridge, N.J., to the seat vacated by Stein. In 1998, the Law Journal found that Stein, a Republican appointed by Gov. Thomas Kean, was the justice most likely to dissent, bucking the majority about 33 percent of the time. His best-known rulings include State v. Marshall, 148 N.J. 89 (1997), in which he affirmed the death sentence of Robert Marshall, convicted of arranging the murder of his wife. In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court in State v. Apprendi, 530 U.S. 466, sided with Stein’s dissent in the state case, 159 N.J. 7 (1999), that New Jersey’s hate crimes law was unconstitutional because it impinged on the jury’s role. Stein was the last link to the Wilentz court and, until McGreevey named Stein’s successor, was the only justice not appointed by Gov. Christine Todd Whitman. Before serving on the supreme court, Stein was Kean’s director of policy and planning and served as Paramus, N.J., borough attorney. He also was a partner in Stein & Kurland in Paramus. Stein is not the first justice to join the firm. Michael Stein’s co-founder, Louis Pashman, is the son of the New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Morris Pashman, who joined Pashman Stein’s predecessor firm in 1983 and remained there until his death in 1999.

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