Justin Pearson

Managing Attorney of the Institute for Justice Florida Office

Justin Pearson is the Institute’s Florida Office Managing Attorney. He also coordinates aspects of the Institute’s national economic liberty efforts and personally directs IJ’s National Street Vending Initiative. Justin has devoted his career to vindicating the constitutional rights of small-business owners, and he has victoriously litigated on their behalf in trial and appellate courts across the nation.

Justin often wins in novel ways. He was the lead counsel in a federal appellate court victory vindicating the right of a Florida dairy creamery to tell the truth on its labels, which was the first victorious First Amendment challenge to a food standard of identity in U.S. history. His win against Little Rock’s ban on taxi competition was based on a provision in the Arkansas Constitution that had not been successfully relied upon in over half a century. And his victory against Fort Pierce’s food truck ban included the first preliminary injunction ever issued in this type of challenge anywhere in the nation.

In addition to litigation, Justin has testified to Florida Senate and House committees dozens of times, and provisions suggested by Justin have been enacted into law. The successful bills that Justin has actively supported include Florida’s 2021 cottage food, home-based business, and local occupational licensing reforms, Florida’s historic 2020 occupational licensing reform (which repealed the most occupational licensing barriers in U.S. history), Florida’s 2019 repeal of the certificate of need requirement for hospitals, Florida’s 2019 Fresh Start reform making it easier for individuals with criminal records to obtain employment, and Florida’s 2016 overhaul of its civil forfeiture laws.

Justin’s work has appeared in countless media outlets, and Justin has spoken to scores of law schools and attorney organizations across the nation. The law schools that have hosted Justin’s talks include Yale, the University of Chicago, Duke, NYU, Notre Dame, and the University of Michigan, among many others.

Prior to joining IJ, Justin founded and managed 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 to better fight against government power gone awry.

Justin received his law degree with honors 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. Justin received his undergraduate degree in business management from North Carolina State University. Justin has been honored by the Daily Business Review and Law.com for being one of South Florida’s “Most Effective Lawyers.”

Justin's Cases

Economic Liberty | Food Freedom

Wisconsin Cottage Foods II

Wisconsin bans the sale of many homemade foods, including common and shelf-stable foods like candies, chocolates, granola and roasted coffee beans. Seven Wisconsinites have joined with IJ to challenge the state’s arbitrary law.

Commercial Speech | First Amendment | Food Freedom

Mississippi Makes Selling “Veggie Burgers” a Crime

In 2019, after lobbying from the meat industry, Mississippi banned plant-based burgers from using meat-related words, such as burger or hotdog, in their marketing. IJ stepped in to represent plant-based companies in a First Amendment…

Economic Liberty | Vending

Food-Truck Owners Challenge Ban on Competition

In late August 2018, a little over a week after IJ launched a lawsuit, challenging Carolina Beach’s food truck restrictions, the town repealed its food truck restrictions due to the threat of IJ’s lawsuit.

Commercial Speech | Economic Liberty | First Amendment | Food Freedom | Food Freedom

Maryland Dairy Farmers Sue for Right to Tell the Truth

The FDA prevented Randy Sowers from labelling his skim milk as “skim milk” even though that’s exactly what it is. The First Amendment protects Randy’s right to tell the truth about his product, and after…

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Justin's Research & Reports

Justin's Amicus Briefs

Justin's News, Articles & Publications

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