Darpana Sheth is a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice. She joined the Institute in 2010 and litigates cutting-edge constitutional cases to protect property rights, economic liberty, and other individual liberties in federal court. Darpana also serves as Director of the Institute’s National Initiative to End Forfeiture Abuse.
Currently, Darpana is lead counsel representing over 20,000 property owners in a federal class action challenging the City of Philadelphia’s egregious civil-forfeiture practices. Darpana also was lead counsel defending the life-savings of a college student from federal forfeiture. On the eve of trial, the United States agreed to return all of the money plus interest. Darpana was also part of the trial team that successfully defended a family-run motel from a federal civil-forfeiture action in Massachusetts.
Darpana has testified before the U.S. Congress, state legislatures, and the Council of the District of Columbia in favor of efforts to reform civil-forfeiture laws. Darpana also testified before the Judicial Conference Advisory Committees on proposed amendments to procedural rules used in federal courts.
With respect to economic liberty, Darpana represented physicians in a constitutional challenge to Virginia’s certificate-of-need program, which makes it a crime for already-licensed medical providers to offer new healthcare services or even purchase certain medical equipment without obtaining government permission by showing that the proposed services are needed. She also was part of the trial team that won a federal court ruling striking down Louisiana’s government-imposed monopoly on the sale of caskets, a ruling that was upheld on appeal.
Darpana’s opinions and views on legal issues have been featured in outlets including CNN, The Washington Post, Forbes, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Prior to joining the Institute for Justice, Darpana served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of New York and as law clerk to the Honorable Jerome A. Holmes of the 10th U.S. Court of Appeals. She also worked in private practice as a litigation associate at the Manhattan law firm of Chadbourne & Parke, LLP. Darpana graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History, and attended the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium. She earned her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center and also attended the Washington College of Law’s Program in Law and Government at American University.