Renée D. Flaherty is a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice. She joined IJ in September 2013 and litigates cases to protect economic liberty, property rights and educational choice.
Renée’s most recent economic liberty work challenges unnecessary educational requirements for ordinary occupations. She currently represents lactation consultants in a case against Georgia’s first-of-its-kind licensing law that requires college courses to help women learn to breastfeed. In 2020, the Supreme Court of Georgia held that Renée’s clients—and all Georgians—have a right to practice their occupation free from unreasonable government interference. Renée also represents day-care providers in a challenge to Washington, D.C.’s regulations requiring a college degree to care for infants and toddlers.
Renée has successfully represented families in defense of North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship Program, which was upheld by the Supreme Court of North Carolina in July 2015. Her work has also resulted in a federal court of appeals victory for ridesharing drivers in Chicago, the return of thousands of dollars to victims of civil forfeiture, and changes to laws that allowed eyebrow threaders in Louisiana and casket sellers in Alabama to pursue their callings.
Renée’s views and opinions have been published in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, National Review, and other venues.
In 2019, Harvard Law School selected Renée as a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow to teach students about careers in public interest litigation.
Before joining IJ in 2013, Renée was an attorney at the Washington, D.C., office of Bingham McCutchen, LLP, where she focused on tax controversy matters. She received her law degree from Harvard Law School in 2011. Renée also graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2007.
Renée lives in Falls Church, Virginia, with her husband and two cats. She is an avid CrossFitter and rare book collector.
Group of Property Owners Team Up to Fight Back Against Private Railroad’s Attempt to Take Their Property
A group of property owners in Sparta, Georgia has teamed up to fight back against a private railroad's attempt to take their land.
Brandy Davis is a licensed eyelash extension specialist who is being blocked from doing her job by the Oklahoma Board of Cosmetology and Licensing. She's suing in state court to challenge the board's licensing requirements.
The government should never prevent doctors from safely providing affordable health care services their patients need. But that’s exactly what North Carolina, along with 34 other states, do every day. Dr. Jay Singleton is working…
The city of Charlottesville and Albemarle County have decided to require a license for freelance writers and have made writers pay thousands in back taxes. This irrational law favors some speakers, like the traditional press,…
North Carolina CONs Patients: Outdated Law Prevents Doctor From Providing Transparently Priced, Low-Cost MRI Scans
In Spring 2020, Dr. Gajendra Singh had to close his imaging center, in part because of the enormous costs imposed by the CON law. As a result, Dr. Singh’s lawsuit could not continue, but shortly…
For decades, Mary Jackson has worked as a lactation consultant, helping new moms and babies during a critical time in their lives. Then one day, Georgia passed the nation’s most restrictive licensing regime for lactation…
D.C. Parents and Day Care Providers Sue to Stop Rule Requiring Providers to Earn College Degree to Watch Kids
D.C. recently decided to require day care workers to have a college degree. This is an unreasonable regulation drives up child care costs and deprives day care workers of their ability to earn an honest…
Lata Jagtiani, Ushaben Chudasama and Panna Shah have partnered with the Institute for Justice to fight for her right to earn an honest living threading eyebrows in Louisiana.
Charles Clarke is one of thousands of Americans whose cash has been seized at an airport through civil forfeiture, which allows law enforcement to seize cash and property without ever charging anyone with any crime.
Armed with little more than their smartphones and cars, a small group of entrepreneurs are driving innovation in an industry that has been dominated by a cartel of cab owners and a regulatory framework originally…
Through the Opportunity Scholarship Program, North Carolina is giving low-income families the same educational choices that wealthier families already enjoy.
Renée's Amicus Briefs
The Gym 24/7 Fitness, LLC v. State of Michigan
Michigan Supreme Court