Joanna is currently completing her master’s degree in criminal defense while working as a Guardian Ad Litem on several cases on which she was appointed through JCAP’s Juvenile Representation Clinic. While working on her master’s degree, she had the opportunity to work with the juvenile probation department, where she collaborated with Alison McGallion to develop a database of all dual status kids in Harris County. Dismayed by the challenges specific to children in both the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, she also trained with, and now works with, the Harris County Youth Collective (HCYC). The HCYC is developing and implementing best practices to improve coordination among systems and overall outcomes for youth who have dual system involvement with juvenile justice and child welfare.
Prior to her work in juvenile justice, Joanna was a civil defense attorney for 18 years, first with Gardere & Wynne and later with Nickens, Keeton where she worked on the Enron case. Then she and her brother started an energy company in which she acted as General Counsel and Senior Director of Legislative Matters and Regulatory Affairs. They sold the company to NRG in 2011.