Joan E. Neal

Joan E. Neal

Professor from Practice

Joan E. Neal teaches transactional skills courses, including contract drafting, 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).

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, Chicago, IL
Professor from Practice, 2017-present
Class of 1949 Lecturer in Law, 2010-2017
Develop and teach various transactional skills-based courses, including contract drafting, and a course focused upon legal ethics in a transactional setting.

Private Legal Consultant, Chicago, IL
Provided legal services to client building and operating submarine cable in telecommunications industry.  Negotiated and drafted a wide variety of contractual arrangements (domestic and international) and counseled client regarding regulatory compliance issues.

Morrison & Foerster LLP, Washington, DC
Of Counsel, Communications Group, 1990-2010

Mayer, Brown & Platt, Chicago, IL
Associate, Litigation Department, 1989-1990

Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Chicago, IL
Graduate Fellow, June-September 1989

"Beyond the First Year," Best Practices in Legal Drafting Courses, DePaul University College of Law, April 21, 2018

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)