Joan A. Lukey

Practice Group Leader - Complex Trial & Appellate Litigation

For more than thirty years, Joan Lukey has tried complex business litigation, employment and other cases in state and federal court in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and nationwide. She has tried approximately 100 jury trials and a myriad of bench trials and arbitrations in all aspects of business disputes. In addition, she is an accomplished appellate lawyer, having argued approximately 60 federal and state appeals.

Since 1983, Ms. Lukey has been selected by her peers for each edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of business, bet-the-company, commercial, personal injury, employment and First Amendment litigation. She has also been routinely recognized for the last several years in Chambers USA and Chambers Global as a Band One Litigator.

Ms. Lukey is a past President of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers, the first woman ever to hold this position. Before joining Choate in 2014, she was a partner at Ropes & Gray in the Complex Business Litigation Practice Group from 2008 until 2014, after almost thirty years as a partner at WilmerHale. She has served twice as a Massachusetts Special Assistant Attorney General and has written extensively on issues of Gubernatorial and Presidential Executive Privilege.


  • Named Who’s Who Legal Litigation practice area (2017).
  • Named to Benchmark Litigation's Top 100 Trial Lawyers (2017).
  • Named to The Legal 500's "Leading Trial Lawyer" ranking (2016-2017).
  • Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business (2010-2014).
  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2009-2015).
  • Expert Guides' Guide to the World’s Leading Women in Business Law (2014).
  • The Best Lawyers in America (1983-2016), listed under Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, First Amendment Law, Labor and Employment Law and Personal Injury Litigation.
  • Benchmark Litigation: Top 10 Female Litigators (2015).
  • Benchmark Litigation: Top 250 Women in Litigation (2012-2015).
  • Benchmark Litigation: National Litigation Star (2013-2015).
  • Massachusetts Super Lawyers (2004-2015).
  • Lawdragon 500 (2013).
  • Highlighted in the 2004 publication of Massachusetts Super Lawyer as the second-highest voted recipient in the Commonwealth.
  • Has been listed among Boston Magazine's “Top 50 Female Massachusetts Super Lawyers” and as one of its “Fabulous 40,” a group of forty Bostonians celebrated for their career success and dynamic, unique personalities.
  • Named one of the “35 influential judges and lawyers in Massachusetts of the past 35 years” and “Leaders in the Law” in 2013 in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.
  • "America's 50 Top Women Litigators,” National Law Journal.
  • Named one of the most powerful attorneys in Massachusetts by the Massachusetts edition of the National Law Journal.
  • Singled out for one of the top 10 defense verdicts nationally in 2001 by the National Law Journal.
  • Burton Award for Legal Achievement In Writing.
  • Founders' Medal from Boston College Law School (2004).
  • St. Thomas More Award (2003).
  • Inducted into YWCA's Academy of Women Achievers (1996).

Publications and Presentations

An accomplished writer, Ms. Lukey's OpEd pieces have appeared in The Washington Post and The Boston Globe. She is the author of the chapter "Employment Litigation" in the ABA's Business and Commercial Litigation in the Federal Courts. She is a co-editor and co-author of the treatise Federal Litigation in the First Circuit.

Professional and Community Involvement

A past president of the Boston Bar Association (2000-2001), Ms. Lukey has received repeated recognition from her peers, including election in 1991 to the American College of Trial Lawyers, an invitation-only organization drawn from the best of the trial bar.  In 2000, she was also elected to fellowship in the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.  A wife and mother, she is active in several community and professional organizations, including past service as an overseer of Boston College Law School and as a trustee of the Boston Bar Foundation.

Education & Credentials

Boston College Law School
JD, cum laude, Order of the Coif

Editor, Environmental Affairs Law Review

Member, National Moot Court Championship Team

First woman selected as Best Oral Advocate at National Moot Court Competition


Smith College
BA, magna cum laude




New Hampshire

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit

U.S. District Courts, Massachusetts & New Hampshire