Joan McPhee has more than two decades of experience representing companies and individuals in white collar criminal investigations and trials, as well as complex civil litigation and administrative enforcement matters. One of the nation’s preeminent white collar practitioners, Joan has been lauded for her handling of high-profile and high-stakes matters, including a case that gained nationwide attention in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
In addition, Joan has extensive experience conducting sensitive internal investigations, and advising clients in response to allegations of sexual misconduct and failure to report claims of child sexual abuse. As an Assistant United States Attorney, Joan investigated and successfully tried a sexual abuse and misconduct case involving abuse of minors and transmittal of sexually exploitative material.
Joan also is a leader of Ropes & Gray’s independent investigations group, which draws on the experience and know-how of former federal prosecutors to conduct thorough inquiries with the highest level of integrity.
Throughout her career, Joan has been dedicated to public service—in government, in community organizations and in leadership roles on diversity and inclusion initiatives in the legal profession.
She has held numerous leadership positions at Ropes & Gray, serving for 10 years as a member of the firm’s governing policy committee, and for many years as head of the firm’s government enforcement practice. In addition, Joan co-chairs the firm's diversity committee. She also has served in a leadership role with the firm’s pro bono committee and has participated in the Women’s Forum. She maintains an active pro bono practice, and she has spearheaded the firm’s partnerships with the Innocence Project and Lawyers Without Borders.
Prior to joining Ropes & Gray, Joan served as an Assistant United States Attorney and Deputy Chief of the Appeals Unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. During her tenure as a federal prosecutor, in addition to conducting numerous investigations, Joan tried approximately a dozen cases involving a wide range of criminal conduct, including obstruction of justice, financial fraud, sexual exploitation, racketeering and organized crime.
- JD, magna cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1984; Articles Editor, Harvard Law Review
- BA, Princeton University, 1980; Phi Beta Kappa
Admissions / Qualifications
- New York, 1986
- Massachusetts, 1986
- Rhode Island, 1991
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
- U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
- U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island
- Law360 “White Collar MVP” (2019)
- Benchmark Litigation: Top 100 Trial Lawyers (2018)
- Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2005-2021)
- Legal 500 (2016-2018, 2020)
- The Best Lawyers in America (2013-2019)
- Who’s Who Legal: “Business Crime Defence” (2016)
- Benchmark Litigation: Top 250 Women in Litigation (2012-2015; 2018)
- Benchmark Litigation: Massachusetts Litigation Star (2007, 2008, 2010-2017)
- Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly “Top Women of Law” (2015)
- Expert Guides’ Guide to the World’s Leading Women in Business Law (2013-2016)
- Expert Guides' Guide to the World's Leading White Collar Crime Lawyers (2014)
- LMG Life Sciences, Life Science Star (2012-2014, 2016)
- Massachusetts Super Lawyers (2009-2017)
- Recognized by Lawdragon as one of “the freshest faces in American law” and named to Lawdragon's list of “500 New Stars, New Worlds” based upon excellence in a sophisticated practice
- Nightingale’s Healthcare News “Outstanding Healthcare Litigators"