Joan O. Vorster

Joan is a partner in the firm's Litigation Group and member of the firm’s Management Committee. She concentrates her practice in litigation involving medical malpractice and in business and insurance disputes.

Joan defends physicians, hospitals and health care providers in medical malpractice and business disputes. She also represents physicians and other professionals before their professional licensing boards. Joan defends insurance companies and employers on life, health and disability claims brought under state law and under ERISA.

Joan was appointed to the Judicial Nominating Commission in 2010 by Governor Deval L. Patrick and served until 2014.

Joan has been named a Massachusetts “Super Lawyer” by Boston magazine and Law & Politics every year since 2008. She was also named as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Massachusetts in 2009, 2010, 2014, 2015 and 2017, and as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in New England in 2010.

Joan is the former chair of the American Bar Association's TIPS Life Insurance Law Committee. She is a frequent contributor to the Defense Research Institute's Life, Health and Disability Newsletter and the co-editor of the Mirick O'Connell Life, Health and Disability Newsletter.

In 2000, Joan was selected by the Worcester Business Journal as one of the “40 under Forty” professionals honored for their professional excellence and community service.

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
  • U.S. District Court for Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court for Rhode Island
  • U.S. District Court for Connecticut
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Boston College Law School JD (1987)
  • Skidmore College BS (1984)
  • Successfully defended numerous physicians, hospitals and other health care professionals in medical liability cases at trial
  • Represented physicians, hospitals and health care companies in business and contract disputes with providers, vendors, suppliers and corporate shareholders
  • Successfully defended employers and insurers on claims for life, health and disability insurance benefits under both state law and ERISA in cases pending in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, and obtained precedent-setting decisions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • Handled all Massachusetts cases involving products and premises liability for a national retail chain

Publications/Presentations

  • "Voir Dire: Watch and Learn" MCLE, February 2017
  • "Voir Dire: Watch and Learn" MCLE, February 2016
  • "Hot Topics in ERISA and the Management of Life and Disability Claims," New England Claims Association, February 2015
  • "Litigation Update for Emerging Issues in Life, Health, Disability, ERISA and Insurance Regulation," ABA Mid Winter Symposium on Issues and Litigation Relating to Life, Health and Disability Insurance, Insurance Regulation and Employee Benefits, January 2015
  • "Hot Topics in ERISA and the Management of Life and Disability Claims," New England Claims Association, February 2014
  • “Direct and Cross Examination of a Medical Witness,” Worcester County Bar Association First Monday Seminar Series, February 2014
  • "Distribution of ERISA-Governed Life Insurance Benefits After Divorce, QRODs vs. DROs," The Brief, American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, Summer 2013 (Vol. 42, No. 4)
  • "Hot Topics in ERISA and the Management of Life and Disability Claims," New England Claims Association, April 2013
  • "Life Insurance Law Update 2012," Life, Health, Disability and ERISA Claims Seminar, Defense Research Institute, April 2013
  • "Modern Family: QDOs, DROs and Life Insurance," ABA TIPS Mid Winter Symposium on Issues and Litigation Relating to Life, Health and Disability Insurance, January 2012
  • "Hot Topics in ERISA and the Management of Life and Disability Claims," New England Claims Association,  February 2011
  • "Medical Malpractice 101," Teleconference, Young Lawyers Division of ABA Health Law Section, November 2010
  • "Hot Topics in ERISA and the Management of Life and Disability Claims," New England Claims Association, April 2010
  • Program Chair, 36th Annual TIPS Mid Winter Symposium on Issues and Litigation Relating to Life, Health and Disability Insurance, Insurance Regulation, Employee Benefits and Re-Insurance, January 2010
  • "Misrepresentations in the Life, Health, and Disability Insurance Application Process: A National Survey," ABA, 2009 (contributing author).
  • "Hot Topics in ERISA and the Management of Life and Disability Claims," New England Claims Association. April 2009
  • "Legal Update," JHA Risk Forum, August 2008
  • "Advanced Litigation: The Paralegal Role during Trial," MCLE Paralegal Conference, June 2008
  • "Taking Depositions of Experts," MCLE Civil Deposition Practice Seminar, April 2008
  • "Current Topics in Life, Health and Disability Claims," New England Claims Association, February 2008
  • "Complexities of an Interpleader Action," Life, Health, Disability and ERISA Claims Seminar, Defense Research Institute, March 2007
  • "Emerging Trends in Handling Claims," New England Claims Association, February 2006
  • "Hit the Books: Statutory Defenses to Contract," Legal Ways to Get Out of a Contract (MCLE 2001)(co-author).
  • "Understanding ERISA Preemptions of Claims for Medical Benefits," Massachusetts Bar Institute Section Review (co-author).

Professional / Community Affiliations

  • Worcester Historical Museum, past president, past member, Board of Trustees
  • American Bar Association TIPS Life Insurance Law Committee, past chair
  • Defense Research Institute Employee Benefits and Life, Health and Disability Committee
  • New England Claims Association
  • Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Rhode Island Bar Association
  • Worcester County Bar Association, former chair, Young Lawyers Committee and Trial Practice Section

  • LINKS

    Trials/Arbitrations
    Reported Cases