Joan M. LeGraw received a BS in Nursing, cum laude, from Fitchburg State College in 1983, a J.D., magna cum laude, from New England Law in 1989 and a M.P.H. from Harvard University in 2000. She is a former Special Assistant District Attorney for Plymouth County. Currently in private practice, Ms LeGraw is also a Lecturer on Law at New England Law (formerly, New England School of Law) where she has taught a course entitled Bioethics in American Law since 2003. Recently she has also joined the Adjunct Faculty of Suffolk University Law School where she teaches Biomedical Law and Public Policy.
As a Registered Nurse, Ms LeGraw worked at the Dana Farber Research Institute in Boston MA, where she was responsible for patient care in the administration of chemotherapy in phase one, two and three research protocols. The ethical and legal questions inherent in this professional experience fueled her interest in Bioethics and Law and she decided to pursue a law degree.
During law school Ms LeGraw was elected Editor-in-Chief of the New England Law Review and co-authored an article entitled: Glass-Steagall and the “Subtle Hazards of Judicial Activism.” After Law School Ms LeGraw was an associate at Bingham McCutchen LLP (formerly Bingham, Dana & Gould) working on commercial and products liability cases as well as general corporate work. After moving to Cape Cod she continued her private practice, which included a wide range of civil litigation and appellate representation. During this time Ms LeGraw never lost a single case on appeal.
Ms LeGraw decided to re-focus her career on Biomedical Law and after earning a Masters in Law and Public Health from Harvard in 2000, she served as the 2000-2001 Health Law and Bioethics Research Fellow at Boston University School of Public Health. During this time she participated in clinical ethics consultations and weekly ethics seminars at Boston Medical Center. Ms LeGraw researched and drafted expert ethics opinion requested by plaintiffs in litigation regarding an alleged violation of the right to refuse medical treatment. She published an article in Human Rights Quarterly entitled, Health Professionals and Lethal Injection Execution in the United States. In addition, an article entitled Covert Video Surveillance Protects the Rights of Children was published in Ethics & Behavior and an article entitled An Analysis of the Proposal for Population Based Screening for Hereditary Hemochromatosis in Massachusetts was published in Biolaw & Business.
Ms LeGraw continued her career as the Director of Regulatory Affairs/ CEO of the Cape Cod Research Institute in Hyannis MA from 2004 to 2009. She was responsible for the oversight of the daily operations of the Institute including corporate compliance and employee recruitment and management. She developed policy in various areas including: avoidance of financial conflict of interests; strategies for ensuring that the voluntary informed consent is obtained from each human subject; and ethical approaches to subject recruitment. Supervised registered nurses in the coordination of clinical research trials. As well as comprehensive legal representation in all areas including employment, corporate and all legal issues surrounding clinical research trials.
While Ms Legraw continues to advise the Cape Cod Research Institute in her role as their General Counsel and Consultant for Ethical and Regulatory Affairs she is now also in private practice with an emphasis on a wide range of issues in Biomedical Law and Research Compliance and general litigation, including criminal defense.