Joan M. Fortin Joan M. Fortin

Joan M. Fortin

Chief Executive Officer

Meet Joan, nature lover, collaborative leader, and Bernstein Shur’s CEO.

Joan M. Fortin

207 228-7310 direct
207 774-1200 main
207 774-1127 facsimile

100 Middle Street
PO Box 9729
Portland, ME 04104-5029

Bernstein Shur Board of Directors


Here’s why you’ll enjoy working with her.

Joan will always have your best interest in mind, whether you’re a developer, member of a legislative body, or an aspiring attorney-to-be. Having helped shape the tax increment financing (TIF) statute, from proposing amendments to the law to creating programs under it, she goes above and beyond to explain the finer details of TIF and to offer her clients efficient, cost-effective solutions that they hadn’t even thought were possible. She’s also concerned about Maine’s economic future—and has helped channel millions of dollars in economic development money into rural areas, where it is desperately needed.

In charge of the firm’s recruiting, retention, and diversity initiatives, Joan is the go-to person for attorneys seeking to join Bernstein Shur and new attorneys looking for a strong advocate and ally. In 2018, Mainebiz named her a Woman to Watch, recognizing her as a champion for diversity and inclusion in the legal industry.

But that’s not all. Joan is also very experienced in:

  • Educating and advising city councils, developers, and town voters on TIF—explaining what it is and how it works, clarifying misconceptions, and highlighting the benefits
  • Helping create TIF districts that subsidize the development of residential complexes, businesses, town water and sewer lines, and much more
  • Drafting TIF follow-up legislation for facilitating the flow of property tax reimbursement and negotiating reimbursement agreements, along with negotiating community benefit agreements with host communities for grid-scale wind energy projects
  • Advising property owners and real-estate developers on obtaining land use approvals at local, state, and federal levels
  • Working with real-estate clients on developing retail projects across multiple locations simultaneously

In her former life, Joan was:

  • A law clerk for the Maine Supreme Judicial Court
  • A summer associate at Bernstein Shur
  • An attorney at a litigation firm in Alaska, focusing on telecommunications regulation
  • Part of student services at Bowdoin College

When Joan isn’t working, she is…

Helping to support the American Heart Association by chairing the 2019 Go Red Luncheon, volunteering her time with the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute, serving as a member of the Lex Mundi Women’s Initiative Recruitment and Retention Task Force, and frequently speaking on a variety of topics related to women in the workplace and diversity and inclusion. Joan enjoys doing just about anything if it’s outside and with her family, including cheering on her son and daughter as they play football, baseball, soccer, and a variety of other sports. She also loves nature passionately and dreams of splitting her time between Northern Maine and McCarthy, Alaska.


JD, Northeastern University School of Law, 1996
EdM, University of Maine, 1991
BA, Colby College, 1988

Admitted to practice
States of Maine and Alaska
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
US District Court, Districts of Maine and Alaska
US Court of Appeals, First and Ninth Circuits


Maine State Bar Association
Maine Bar Foundation Fellow
Maine Women’s Fund, Grants Committee