Justin Pearson is the managing attorney of the Institute for Justice Florida office. He litigates economic liberty, property rights, school choice and First Amendment cases in federal and state court, both in Florida and around the nation. Justin’s current cases include Fourteenth Amendment challenges against minimum limousine fare requirements in Portland, Ore., and against a New Jersey ban outlawing cemetery owners from selling tombstones.
Justin’s recent work at IJ includes obtaining a victory at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to vindicate the right of Ocheesee Creamery to truthfully label its skim milk as skim milk. Justin also recently obtained a victory in Arkansas on behalf of Ken’s Cab, when Justin convinced an Arkansas state court judge to rule that Little Rock had violated the Arkansas Constitution by awarding a private monopoly to Yellow Cab.
Justin’s past work at IJ also includes successfully defending the Jalali family’s office building in Anaheim, Calif. against a federal civil forfeiture action, litigating a case on behalf of entrepreneur Tom Halsnik and his customers which resulted in the reduction of Tampa’s minimum limousine fare rule, and litigating a case on behalf of street vendors in Hialeah which resulted in the repeal of Hialeah’s 300-foot ban on competition. Additionally, Justin has testified to numerous Florida Senate and House committees on issues ranging from the constitutional implications of occupational licensing laws to the need for civil forfeiture reform. On the local level, Justin has successfully obtained municipal code revisions allowing greater access for food trucks.
Throughout his career, Justin has served as lead counsel in trials in state and federal courts, as well as appeals and arbitrations, most often representing small business owners. In 2006, Justin formed his own law practice to advocate for small business owners, and Justin’s law practice was successful for many years before he made the decision to join IJ in 2012 in order to better fight against government power gone awry.
Justin received his law degree, cum laude, from the University of Miami in 2002, where he was the research and writing editor for, and was published in, the University of Miami Business Law Review. While in law school, Justin clerked for Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Gerald D. Hubbart. Justin received his undergraduate degree in business management from North Carolina State University in 1999.
Outside of IJ, Justin is on the leadership committee for the Federalist Society’s Miami Lawyers Chapter, and Justin is also on the Miami Board of Advisors for Florida’s largest free-market think tank, the James Madison Institute.