Joan’s desire to serve comes naturally. In her career in her community, she always finds a way to contribute. Her legal career began in criminal defense and civil rights law. She spent most of her legal career as a health law attorney. She later transitioned to non-profit management and public service. Before joining the Massachusetts state legislature, Joan was Executive Director for the Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, Inc., a public interest law center that promotes equal rights and opportunities for Massachusetts residents.
Joan was raised in a close-knit and caring community on the South Shore, in the Town of Hull. Her father is a retired teacher and lobsterman; her mother is a retired school nurse. Summers spent on the family lobster boat taught her to work hard, and that work ethic saw her through undergraduate study at Harvard and a law degree at the University of New Hampshire, Franklin Pierce School of Law. Joan moved back to Hull with her husband in 1999.