Joanne M. Gray

Joanne M. Gray

Partner Co-Chair, Food + Healthy Living Practice
Joanne M. Gray

Joanne Gray is co-chair of the firm’s Food and Healthy Living Practice. Ms. Gray’s industry-focused practice concentrates in the consumer products area, including FDA regulated companies in the food and beverage, dietary supplement, pharmaceutical and medical device, and technology industries. She provides compliance advice and handles litigation for clients in these highly regulated industries. Ms. Gray is chair of the firm’s Specialty Litigation Group and its Products Liability & Mass Torts Practice. Her litigation practice involves defending companies in high profile products liability, class actions, consumer fraud and mass tort claims.

In the compliance area, Ms. Gray’s counseling practice involves providing regulatory advice, mergers and acquisition advice and litigation avoidance counseling to companies in FDA regulated industries. She counsels clients on regulatory compliance and provides risk management and strategic advice to a wide range of food and supplement businesses, including in the fast growing and rapidly changing healthy living section of the industry. Ms. Gray is involved in counseling and strategic planning for food, dietary supplements and consumer product launches as well as product recalls, and provides advice on company or product lines acquisitions. She often works with food and supplement companies by providing strategic business and regulatory advice regarding products that incorporate new and evolving technologies or novel ingredients, including providing GMP and audit advice that allows leading companies to develop innovative new products while reducing regulatory risk. Her counseling practice includes public relations and crisis management counseling for these industries.

Professional Activities

Ms. Gray has held a number of leadership roles in the American Bar Association. She is the founding national co-­chair of the ABA's Food and Supplement Group. Ms. Gray is on the Board of Directors of Vitamin Angels, an international charity that provides critical micronutrients to pregnant and lactating mothers and children in need, both here in the US and around the world. She leads a team of lawyers in providing pro bono services to Vitamin Angels, and their work has resulted in Goodwin Procter receiving its “Archangel Award”, which is Vitamin Angels’ highest honor.

In the pro bono area, Ms. Gray has also devoted much of her career to working with nonprofit groups that are dedicated to breaking the glass ceiling, and she has served on committees both inside and outside the firm that are focused on a variety of diversity issues, particularly on the advancement of women in the legal profession. Ms. Gray is the past national co-chair of the ABA's Women in Products Liability Committee. She is past chair of the Hiring Committee for the New York office.

Recognition

Ms. Gray is listed in the Nationwide Food & Beverages: Regulatory & Litigation category in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, where clients praise her "tremendous work ethic" and for being "an absolute professional who first looks at the needs of her clients and provides strategic advice for the long ­term." She has been named "Leading Lawyer” by Legal 500 U.S., making her one of only 12 lawyers in the U.S. awarded this honor for products liability law (along with Goodwin partner Forrest Hainline). Ms. Gray has also been recognized as a “Litigation Star” in her field by all the major peer-review ranking publications, including Benchmark Litigation and US News-Best Lawyers.  She has been named a “Life Sciences Star” in Euromoney LMG Life Science Guide as well as listed in the Women in Business Law Expert Guide, Who’s Who in the Law and Super Lawyers. In 2013, Ms. Gray received the first ­ever “Transformative Leadership Award” from the American Bar Association for her leadership in the area of food and supplements law.

Experience

Ms. Gray has broad experience in counseling consumer product companies, as well as defending leading companies (both publically and privately held) in major consumer class actions and bet-the-company national mass tort and products liability litigation. Ms. Gray has been appointed as National Counsel, National Science Counsel and Regional Counsel. She also has extensive experience counseling consumer products clients on risk management and capital markets issues that often arise in the mergers context. Ms. Gray provides strategic advice and related due diligence reviews during acquisitions of specific product lines or entire companies in FDA regulated industries. She has also counseled her clients on managing risk and in limiting potential liability with acquisitions. In that context, Ms. Gray has guided companies through a myriad of regulatory requirements promulgated by different governmental agencies (such as the FDA and the FTC), thus allowing her clients acquire new businesses and continue to develop innovative consumer products while complying with complex and sometimes seemingly contradictory regulations.

Credentials

Education

J.D., 1983
Fordham University School of Law
B.A., 1980
College of the Holy Cross

Admissions

Bar

New York

Courts

U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York
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