Paul Sherman


Senior Attorney

Paul Sherman is a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice. He joined the Institute in July 2007 and litigates cutting-edge constitutional cases protecting the First Amendment, economic liberty, property rights and other individual liberties in both federal and state courts.

Paul has extensive experience litigating First Amendment cases and has helped to develop IJ’s occupational-speech practice, which seeks to create greater constitutional protection against occupational-licensing laws that burden speech. Paul previously represented syndicated newspaper columnist John Rosemond in a successful First Amendment challenge to occupational licensing laws that threaten to silence ordinary parenting advice.  Paul also represented blogger Steve Cooksey in a First Amendment challenge to North Carolina’s dietetics law, which resulted in the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition producing new guidelines that provide broad protection for the right to give dietary advice.

In addition to his work on occupational speech, Paul has litigated numerous campaign finance cases. He served as co-counsel in SpeechNow.org v. FEC, which led to the creation of so-called “super PACs,” and which the Congressional Research Service described as representing one of “the most fundamental changes to campaign finance law in decades.” Paul has also served as lead or co-counsel in lawsuits challenging state campaign-finance or lobbying laws in AlabamaColorado, and Florida, and has filed numerous amicus briefs on campaign finance issues before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the area of economic liberty, Paul has challenged government overreach by dental and veterinary licensing boards in AlabamaConnecticut, Georgia, and Maryland as part of IJ’s mission to protect the right to earn an honest living free from unreasonable government regulation.

Paul is a prolific media writer and his views on the First Amendment and constitutional law have appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe Wall Street JournalNational Law Journal, and other media outlets.

Paul received his law degree from the George Washington University Law School in 2006. While at GW, he served on the board of the Public Contract Law Journal. He earned a master’s degree in political campaigning from the University of Florida in 2003, and bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Florida in 2001. Before coming to the Institute, Paul worked as the associate director of the Center for Competitive Politics.

Current Cases

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Research and Reports

  • September 1, 2016    |    Legal and Policy Studies

    Throughout the nation, cities and counties are looking for ways to promote economic liberty and improve the well-being of their residents But all too often this desire to improve economic conditions manifests itself in expensive and wasteful corporate welfare, public investment in real estate schemes, quaint-but-inefficient forms of mass transit, and other counterproductive uses of…

  • March 16, 2015    |    Scholarly Articles

    In May 2013, newspaper columnist John Rosemond received a cease-and-desist letter from the Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology informing him that his syndicated column — in which he answers readers’ questions about parenting — constitutes the unlicensed and, hence, criminal practice of psychology. Although the Board concedes that Rosemond may publish general advice about…

  • November 1, 2010    |    Studies on Barriers to Entrepreneurship

    Miami’s Vice

    Overregulating Entrepreneurs

    Many Miami entrepreneurs are subject to occupation- or industry-specific regulations, which can take years of arbitrary education and cost thousands of dollars. Small business owners also must comply with paperwork and red tape that is complicated, expensive and time-consuming.

  • February 1, 2009    |    Scholarly Articles

    The right to free speech, including the right to speak out about who should be elected to public office, is a fundamental American right, essential to democratic debate. So, too, is the right of individuals to band together and pool their resources to make their advocacy more eff ective. Th e Founders recognized this, and…

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