Bert Gall


Senior Attorney

Bert Gall serves as a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice. He litigates economic liberty, school choice, free speech and property rights cases nationwide in both federal and state courts.

Bert directs IJ’s National Street Vending Initiative, a nationwide effort to vindicate the right of street vendors to earn an honest living by fighting unconstitutional vending restrictions in courts of law and the court of public opinion. He served as co-counsel in IJ’s successful challenge to El Paso’s protectionist restrictions on mobile vendors, which resulted in El Paso repealing those restrictions.  He also led IJ’s recent successful effort in 2013 to defeat proposed food-truck regulations that would have (by their anti-competitive design) crippled D.C.’s food-truck industry.  In addition, Bert has co-authored  three reports about street-vending laws and food trucks: Streets of Dreams: How Cities Can Create Economic Opportunity by Knocking Down Protectionist Barriers to Street Vending; Food Truck Freedom: How to Build Better Food-Truck Laws in Your City; and Seven Myths and Realities About Food Trucks: Why the Facts Support Food-Truck Freedom.

In school choice, Bert was IJ’s lead counsel in its successful legal defense of school choice programs in both Indiana and Alabama.  The former victory, which preserved what has the potential to become the largest publicly funded scholarship program in the country, was capped off by a unanimous decision from the Indiana Supreme Court.  In 2015, the legal team Bert led secured an 8-1 decision from the Alabama Supreme Court, which preserved that state’s first two school choice programs.

In his First Amendment practice, Bert served as co-counsel in SpeechNow.org v. FEC, in which IJ successfully challenged federal campaign finance laws’ restrictions on free speech and the right of association. He was lead counsel in the Institute’s successful challenge to Florida’s “electioneering communications” law, which required groups and individuals to register with the state and comply with onerous regulations if they merely wanted to mention candidates or ballot issues in their publications. Bert also successfully defended a group of home and business owners in Clarksville, Tenn., who were sued by two developers (one a local politician) for criticizing the developers and their local government for abusing the power of eminent domain for private development.

In the area of property rights, Bert served as co-counsel for home and business owners in Norwood v. Horney, the first eminent domain abuse case to be argued and decided by a state supreme court in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Kelo decision. In ruling for the property owners, the Court unanimously held that taking private property for private economic development violates the Ohio Constitution.

Bert received his law degree from Duke University in 1999, where he served as an articles editor on the staff of Law and Contemporary Problems. He received his undergraduate degree from Rice University in 1996 where he majored in history and political science. Before coming to the Institute, he spent two years in private practice at a Helms Mulliss & Wicker in Charlotte, where he worked on a wide variety of commercial litigation cases. After law school, he clerked for Judge Karen Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

In 2009, Bert was recognized by The National Law Journal as one of its “Rising Stars: Washington’s 40 under 40,” which honored the top 40 lawyers under the age of 40 in the Washington, D.C. area.

Past Cases

News Clips

Research and Reports

  • November 1, 2012    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Seven Myths and Realities about Food Trucks

    Why the Facts Support Food-Truck Freedom

    Using facts and real-world examples, IJ shows that there is no basis for the argument that restaurants need government intervention to “protect” them from food trucks.

  • November 1, 2012    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Food-Truck Freedom

    How to Build Better Food-Truck Laws in Your City

    In order to foster the conditions that will let food trucks thrive, this report offers recommendations based on the legislative best practices of Los Angeles and other cities.

  • July 1, 2011    |    Strategic Research

    Streets of Dreams

    How Cities Can Create Economic Opportunity by Knocking Down Protectionist Barriers to Street Vending

    Street vending is, and always has been, a part of the American economy and a fixture of urban life. Thanks to low start-up costs, the trade has offered countless entrepreneurs—particularly immigrants and others with little income or capital—opportunities for self-sufficiency and upward mobility. At the same time, vendors enrich their communities by providing access to…

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