J. René Josey

After beginning his career as law clerk to U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck of the District of South Carolina, René Josey quickly developed extensive trial and appellate litigation experience primarily in the federal courts. After his first decade in practice, René was chosen by then-President Bill Clinton to serve as the U.S. attorney for the District of South Carolina, a position René held from 1996 through 2001. He was confirmed in record time and participated in a murder for hire prosecution within a few short weeks of that confirmation. In total, he personally participated in over a dozen federal felony prosecutions during his federal service.

René began his private practice with Turner Padget in 2001. On the civil side, René has represented clients in various matters, including product liability and warranty cases, landowners and manufacturers in Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) cases – both private and governmental, and families and charitable trusts in estate disputes. In addition, he has represented tort victims, alleged tort feasors, and insurers in a variety of personal injury and related insurance coverage matters. He has served as counsel for debtors and creditors in collection matters, importers in disputes with the U.S. Custom’s Service, and he has defended professionals in claims of professional negligence, including related governmental investigations or licensing actions. He has represented trademark and patent owners as well as alleged infringers.

On the criminal side, René has prosecuted and defended both violent and non-violent crimes. In private practice, he has defended accusations of fraud in many contexts, tax evasion, embezzlement, environmental crime, theft, road rage, drug possession and distribution, assault, driving under the influence and felony DUI, and immigration crime, among other cases.

As a frequent appellate advocate, René has made multiple appearances before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, including en banc, the South Carolina Supreme Court and the South Carolina Court of Appeals. He has also appeared before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. René has often handled the appellate stage of litigation after referral from other trial counsel.

In addition to the private practice of law, René has served as a lecturer in American Government in the Political Science Department of Francis Marion University. An active member of the community, René has served numerous charitable and volunteer organizations, and he is a former soccer coach and team manager.

“I pride myself in helping individuals, families and business entities work their way successfully through unanticipated legal situations, whether civil or criminal. Setting a tone of patience and calmness, I guide clients through sometimes-unfamiliar proceedings by regular communication and ongoing explorations of dispositive options. I objectively look at the big picture and try to keep my clients’ focused on their long-range goals, even through subjectively difficult moments. I do my best to work both effectively and efficiently so unexpected legal costs are minimized.”

Representative Matters

  • Achieved a summary judgment for a medical provider in a malpractice action and successfully defended that judgment before the South Carolina Supreme Court.
  • Protected the professional licensure of individuals subject to discipline by state licensing authorities (dentists, pharmacists, nurses, accountants, builders, building inspectors).
  • Convinced state and federal law enforcement not to prosecute, or to defer prosecution of, various matters including alleged cases of assault, civil right’s violations, insurance fraud, securities fraud, immigration crimes, larceny, lottery fraud, and pension fraud.
  • Assisted crime victims with prosecutorial interactions, investigative tasks and recovery of restitution. Also assisted corporate and institutional clients with internal investigations and dismissal of rogue employees.
  • Successfully expunged the juvenile record of a client after convincing the South Carolina Supreme Court that the trial court had misapplied the eligibility statute.
  • Aided the purchaser of federally contaminated land in making a recovery from the U.S.
  • Successfully pursued recovery in a family probate fiduciary-duty dispute.
  • Defended financial institutions against federal investigations and customer complaints.
  • Represented investment advisors in change of employment litigation in District Court and regulatory arbitration.
  • Advised accountants throughout state and federal criminal investigations and related SEC investigations related to the financial failure of a publicly traded company.
  • Counseled a charitable trust during an oversight investigation by the state Attorney General’s office.
  • Assisted an accident victim in recovery against the U.S. under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
  • Guided grand jury witnesses, both targets and non-targets, through anticipated testimony.

Contact Information

Florence Office
Phone: 843.656.4451
Fax: 843.413.5818
Email: rjosey@turnerpadget.com
Download vCard here.

Practice Areas

In Our Blog

Bar and Court Admissions

South Carolina Bar, 1985
United States District Court, District of South Carolina, 1987
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Judicial Circuit, 1987          
United States Courts of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, 1992
United States Supreme Court, 1994


University of South Carolina, J.D., 1985
Clemson University, B.A., 1982

Professional Affiliations

Federal Bar Association (South Carolina Chapter, President, 2006-2007)                         
Florence County Bar Association (President, 2007)           
National Association of Former U.S. Attorneys (Member, 2002-Present)
South Carolina Centers for Equal Justice (Board of Directors, 2002-2005)       


Best Lawyers in America, Appellate Law, 2007-2013
Best Lawyers in America, Criminal Defense: White Collar Crime, 2008-2014
Best Lawyers in America, Criminal Defense: Non-White Collar Crime, 2008-2014
South Carolina Super Lawyers, Business Litigation, 2008, 2013, 2014;  Criminal Defense 2011-2012
Compleat Lawyer Award, 2010, University of South Carolina School of Law