FLORENCE, S.C. – J. René Josey of Turner Padget Graham & Laney P.A. in Florence has become the president of the board of directors of the South Carolina Bar Foundation for the 2018 fiscal year.

Josey, a Clemson native, is a member of the firm’s business litigation team and has been named as a South Carolina Super Lawyer in the area of business litigation. Josey also was included in the list of Best Lawyers in America in the areas of appellate law, white collar and non-white collar crime. He recently was awarded the “Lawyer of the Year” by South Carolina Lawyers Weekly for leadership in law for 2017.

As the president of the bar foundation’s board, Josey will be responsible for improving access to the justice system, especially for those unable to afford civil legal services. The foundation also helps explain the importance of the justice system through public education.

Josey said he is excited about leading the state’s bar foundation board of directors and hopes to put in place long-term fundraising projects to grow the foundation’s investment reserves.

“I am thrilled and proud to have the opportunity to serve my profession in this way,” Josey said. “I will be focusing on fundraising and creating awareness about the bar foundation, what it does and why we need to support it.”

Josey said he first became interested in the law profession in the seventh grade after watching the Watergate hearings on television.

“I became fascinated by it,” Josey said. “I realized how important lawyers could be in making sure that our government worked properly.”

Josey received his law degree from the University of South Carolina and began his career in 1985 as a law clerk for a federal judge in Florence. He has since gain extensive trial and appellate litigation experience in both civil and criminal cases. After his first decade in practice, Josey was chosen by then-President Bill Clinton in 1996 to serve as the U.S. attorney for the District of South Carolina, a position he held for five years.

Josey then started his private practice in 2001 with Turner Padget and has represented numerous clients in various matters, including product liability and warranty cases, families and charitable trusts in estate disputes and Compensation and Liability Act cases. He has served as counsel for debtors and creditors in collection matters and importers in disputes with the U.S. Custom’s Service, and he has defended professionals in claims of negligence, including related governmental investigations or licensing actions.

On the criminal side, Josey has prosecuted and defended both violent and non-violent crimes. In private practice, he has defended allegations of fraud, tax evasion, embezzlement, environmental crime, theft, road rage, drug possession and distribution, and many others.

In addition to his private practice, Josey serves as an adjunct faculty member for the University of South Carolina School of Law and has served as a lecturer in American Government in the Political Science Department of Francis Marion University. Josey also has served in his church as well as numerous charitable and volunteer organizations, including the Masterworks Choir.

Megan Seiner, executive director of the South Carolina Bar Foundation, said Josey served as the foundation’s president-elect for 2017 and as the treasurer and director in 2016, so his move into the president’s seat has been a three-year process.

“René was one of those people that was always very involved in a lot of different philanthropically opportunities, so he just seem like a natural fit,” Seiner said. “I think everybody is super excited to have him as president.”

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