Joan E. Neal

Joan E. Neal

Professor from Practice

Joan E. Neal teaches transactional skills courses, including upper-level contract drafting and a 1L introductory course on transactional lawyering, as well as ethics for transactional lawyers. Prior to joining the Law School, she spent almost 20 years in Morrison & Foerster's Communications Group, with a focus on regulatory and transactional work in the telecommunications industry. She has (i) negotiated and drafted a wide variety of contractual arrangements governing carriers' customer and wholesale supplier relationships (both domestic and international) and construction of submarine cable systems; (ii) counseled clients regarding regulatory compliance, US market entry, and structuring of ongoing businesses and new ventures; and (iii) acted as regulatory counsel in a wide range of transactions (including mergers, public and private equity and debt offerings, and foreign investments).

Professor Neal has a BA in Russian & East European Studies from the University of Michigan (1986) and a JD from Yale Law School (1989).


Yale Law School

JD, 1989

Harvard Law School

Special Student, 1987-88

University of Michigan

BA with High Distinction, 1986
Concentration: Russian & East European Studies


University of Chicago Law School

Professor from Practice, 2017-present
Class of 1949 Lecturer in Law, 2010-2017

Private Legal Consultant

Chicago, IL, 2010-2017

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Communications Group of Counsel , Washington, DC, 1997-2010
Associate, 1990-1997

Mayer, Brown & Platt

Litigation Department Associate, Chicago, IL, 1989-1990

Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Graduate Fellow, June-September 1989

Books (Author)

  • Ethics for Transactional Lawyers (forthcoming)2022).

Book Sections

  • "Ethical Issues in Drafting," in Drafting Contracts: How and Why Lawyers Do What They Do (forthcoming).

Panelist at Beyond the First Year Conference: Best Practices in Legal Drafting Courses (DePaul University College of Law, 2018)

Law School Committees

  • First Year Curriculum Committee, Subcommittee on Transactional Law, 2020
  • Professor from Practice Committee, 2019-present
  • Admissions & Career Services Committee, 2018-2019

Legal Activities & Awards

  • Co-editor and co-author of Morrison & Foerster’s monthly Communications Law Bulletin, 2002-2010.
  • Member, Advisory Board, Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First), 1992-1998.
  • Pro Bono Award, International Human Rights Law Group, 1992.

Other Activities

  • Member, Board of Trustees, Court Theatre (2015-present)
  • Member, Recovery on Water (women’s masters rowing team) (2012-present)