J. René  Josey

J. René Josey

  • 843-656-4451

The former United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina, René Josey continues to use his diverse litigation experience and leadership skills to guide a wide-variety of clients through complex disputes, mediations, and appeals – both civil and criminal, and both state and federal.

René has over three decades of litigation experience – trying his first solo criminal matter in federal court only months after completing his federal clerkship. In addition to practice in every variety of trial court, René has argued multiple appeals (civil and criminal) in the appellate courts of South Carolina and two circuits of the United States Courts of Appeal, including an en banc argument.

Using his experience and know-how, René regularly helps clients cut to the core issues of a matter and get them resolved reducing the time and expense usually associated with litigation.

Rene has previously served as the President of the South Carolina Bar Foundation, President of the Florence County Bar, the South Carolina Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, the Chair of the Florence Civic Center Commission, the President of the Florence Area Arts Council, Chair of the Board for Carolina Regional Legal Services, and Chair of the Board of The Masterwork’s Choir of Florence.

Appellate Law

  • Successfully defended numerous appeals from summary judgment orders in cases of medical negligence, defamation, fraud, and alleged breaches of fiduciary duty.

Products Liability

  • Obtained summary judgment for automobile manufacturer against claim of brake defects.

Environmental Law

  • Secured property clean-up agreement of over $7 million for land owner against the United States. 

Federal Tort Claims

  • Secured $500,000 tort claim settlement against the United States for Post Office injury. Recovered $50,000 for driver hit at intersection by United States Army vehicle. 

Whistleblower & False Claims Act Matters

  • Both pursued and defended False Claims Act and whistleblower claims involving the United States.

Criminal Practice

  • Successfully helped those accused of crimes mitigate their circumstances and avoid incarceration. 

Professional Licensure and Regulatory Matters

  • Assisted licensed professionals, involved in regulatory investigations and infractions, keep or restore their practices.
  • University of South Carolina, J.D., 1985
  • Clemson, B.A., 1982
  • South Carolina Bar, 1985
  • United States District Court, District of South Carolina, 1987
  • United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, 1987
  • United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, 1992
  • United States Supreme Court, 1994

Professional or Industry Involvement

  • South Carolina Bar House of Delegates,12th Circuit, Board of Governors
  • 2020-2022 President, Pee Dee Chapter of the American Inns of Court
  • 2023 Vice-Chairman, Florence Regional Airport Authority
  • Member, Trial Law Institute
  • Member, Diversity Law Institute
  • Barrister, Litigation Counsel of America- Order of Veritas
  • Advocate, Litigation Counsel of America- Order of Certus
  • 2017-2018 President and Director, South Carolina Bar Foundation
  • Member, American Board of Trial Advocates
  • Past Member, United States District Court Rules Advisory Committee
  • Past Member, South Carolina Supreme Court Commission on Continuing Legal Education & Specialization
  • Past President, Florence County Bar Association
  • Past President, Federal Bar Association – South Carolina Chapter
  • Past Director, South Carolina Centers for Equal Justice (South Carolina Legal Services) & Carolina Regional Legal Services

Community or Pro Bono Involvement

  • Present Member and Past Director and Chair, Masterworks Choir of Florence
  • Past President and Director, Little Bald Rock Homeowner's Association
  • Past Trustee, Pee Dee Methodist Manor
  • Past Commissioner and Chair, Florence Civic Center Commission
  • Past Director and Chair, Montessori School of Florence
  • Past Director, Lighthouse Ministries of Florence
  • Past Director, Florence Center for the Arts (now Performing Arts Center)
  • Past Director and Chair, Florence Area Arts Council
  • Past Church Administrative Board Member & Repeat Conference Delegate
  • Best Lawyers in America, Appellate Practice; Criminal Defense: General Practice; and Criminal Defense: White Collar, 2008-2024
  • South Carolina Super Lawyers, 2008-2021
  • 2018 “Lawyer of The Year” in White Collar Crime for Columbia, South Carolina by Best Lawyers in America (peer review) (Best Lawyers listing many prior years for Appellate Law, General Criminal Law, & White Collar Crime)
  • 2017 “Lawyer of The Year” chosen by South Carolina Lawyer’s Weekly magazine among “Leadership in Law” Finalists
  • 2010 Compleat Lawyer Award, University of South Carolina School of Law
  • South Carolina Bar’s Pro Bono “Lawyer of the Year” 1990
  • “Trial Dog” Award from AUSA’s of the U.S. Attorney’s Office
  • Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™-AV® for over 25 years
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America


  • An Analysis of Silkwood v. Kerr-McGee Corp. -- Are Punitive Damages and Exclusive Federal Regulation Consistent? 36 S.C.L. Rev. 689 (1985).
  • Annual Survey of South Carolina Law (Labor and Employment Section), 36 S.C.L. Rev. 179 (1984).
  • Employment Discrimination and Title VII:
  • Appropriate Conceptual Frameworks for Different Claims.
  • Fetal Vulnerability Plan: Disparate Treatment Absent Intent.
  • Title VII and The Sexually Offensive Work Environment: A Warranty of Workability
  •  Wildcat Strikes and Local Union Liability

Presentations & Speaking Engagements

  • University of South Carolina School of Law, “Memory Hold The Door” Speaker, First Year Civility Oath Program, August 22, 2017