Joan E. Neal

Joan E. Neal

Professor from Practice

Joan Neal teaches telecommunications law and transactional skills courses, including contract drafting and simulated contract negotiations. 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; (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). Her clients represented a broad range of the communications industry, and also included several Fortune 500 companies in the negotiation of vendor agreements for their international communications network needs. She also served on firm committees for attorney hiring and the summer associate program.

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 (2010-present):
Class of 1949 Lecturer in Law.  Teach skills-based seminars in Contract Drafting and Contract Negotiation, as well as substantive courses in Communications Law. 

Private Legal Consultant, Chicago, IL (2010-present): 
Provide legal services to private client in telecommunications industry.  Negotiate and draft a wide variety of contractual arrangements and counsel 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

Legal Activities & Awards

Co-editor and co-author of Morrison & Foerster’s monthly Communications Law Bulletin, 2002-present.

Member, Advisory Board, Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First), 1992-1998.

Pro Bono Award, International Human Rights Law Group, 1992.