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No list of leading litigators would be complete without Joan Lukey, Chair of the Complex Trial & Appellate Litigation Group at Choate, Hall & Stewart. Throughout her 30-plus years of practice, she has forged many paths, broken glass ceilings, and set new benchmarks for both the law and for women.
Widely considered one of the nation's preeminent trial lawyers, Lukey has over 100 jury trials, scores of bench trials and arbitrations, and 60 appeals under her belt. Her practice is unique in that it is split pretty evenly between representing plaintiffs and defendants in complex business disputes. It includes many large companies like Johnson & Johnson and CGI, as well as individuals. While winning big victories for major corporate clients who are embroiled in complex business litigation is Lukey's stock-in-trade, some of the wins that stand out for her are those that changed individual client's lives.
One of Lukey's most notable accomplishments is her election as the 60th and first woman president of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers. Being "first" comes naturally to Lukey. While a student at Boston College Law School, where she graduated cum laude and Order of the Coif, Lukey was the first woman to be selected as the "Best Oral Advocate" at the National Moot Court Competition. When U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, who was the first African-American on the Supreme Court, handed her the award he leaned in and told her, "It's not so bad being first."
After graduating from law school, Lukey joined Hale and Dorr (now WilmerHale) where she was the sole woman associate that year alongside nine men from Harvard Law School. Lukey would later become the first woman elected to the firm's Executive Committee.
Lukey has further influenced the practice of law by serving twice as a Massachusetts Special Assistant Attorney General. She also is a past President of the Boston Bar Association and has written extensively – and moved the needle – on issues of gubernatorial and presidential executive privilege.
Throughout her career, Lukey has continuously redefined the practice of business litigation while breaking through barriers and pushing the envelope in ways that no one has done before.
Last Updated 27th July 2017