Joan S. Dinsmore Partner

Joan represents businesses and institutions in a wide range of litigation matters, including product liability, toxic torts, professional malpractice, business torts and contract disputes.

She has managed extensive discovery projects, prepared complex case-dispositive motions, participated in trials in state and federal court, and drafted successful appellate briefs. Joan has significant experience working with medical and technology experts to distill their reports and analyses into opinions that are clear, concise, and helpful for clients, judges and juries.

Prior to joining McGuireWoods LLP in 2012, Joan practiced for six years in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices of an international law firm, representing pharmaceutical manufacturers, technology companies, financial services providers and property management entities.

Joan maintains a commitment to pro bono service and received the Pro Bono Service Award from her prior firm by devoting over 100 hours of her time to pro bono clients in four consecutive years. Among her other projects, she devoted several years to the California Habeas Project to aid victims of domestic violence in challenging lengthy sentences imposed for crimes related to the abuse they experienced. In early 2014, her work culminated in the release of a domestic violence survivor from prison; the survivor had been serving a life sentence for allegedly conspiring with her abuser to assault a police informant. Joan currently volunteers her time to the Wake County District Attorney’s office providing support to their Special Victims’ Unit.


Represented large energy company in successful challenge to civil penalties issued by environmental regulators. (N.C. O.A.H.)

Defeated motions for class certification on behalf of major food manufacturer in cases challenging the use of “all natural” label claims. (N.D. Cal.)

Represented major financial institution in successful defense of claims arising out of the World Trade Center collapse. (S.D.N.Y.)

Obtained summary judgment in favor of automobile manufacturer in putative class action alleging defective parts. (C.D. Cal.)

Drafted successful motions to dismiss and appellate briefs for client accused of violations of the California False Claims Act. (Cal. Ct. App.)

Coordinated extensive document and deposition discovery for pharmaceutical manufacturer in critical suit against competing drug company for breach of license and distribution agreement. (S.D.N.Y.)

Obtained order for major financial institution affirming dismissal of certified class action alleging that forfeiture provision in employee stock purchase agreement violated the California Labor Code. (Cal. Supreme Ct.)

Drafted motion for summary judgment resulting in stipulated dismissal of claims against large vaccine manufacturer in lawsuit alleging distribution of contaminated vaccines. (Cal. Super. Ct.)

Obtained dismissal, affirmed on appeal, on personal jurisdiction grounds of all claims against UK-based director of California-based corporation. (Cal. Ct. App.)

  • The University of North Carolina School of Law, JD, with Honors, Comments Editor, North Carolina Law Review, 2006
  • Rice University, BA, Mathematics, 2003

Member, American Bar Association

Member, North Carolina Bar Association; Women in the Profession Committee

  • California
  • North Carolina
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina

The rules of professional conduct in some jurisdictions require disclosure of selection methodology for certain public accolades and recognitions. Click here to view available selection methodologies.

Selected for inclusion into the North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society, 2020

Named to "North Carolina Rising Stars," PI - Products: Defense, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters,  2016

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