Joan M. Fortin Joan M. Fortin

Joan M. Fortin

Chief Executive Officer

Meet Joan, dynamic leader, visionary, and Bernstein Shur’s first female 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

  • Named a Mainebiz Woman to Watch in 2018
  • Named Lawyer of the Year in The Best Lawyers in America ®2009 & 2013
    Municipal Law
  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America ® 2022
    Municipal Law
  • Awarded the Judicial Award of the Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent™
  • Maine Women’s Fund ‘Call to Action’ Honoree in 2020
  • Featured on the Mainebiz Podcast “The Day that Changed Everything” | February 2021
  • Featured on Northeastern University School of Law’s Women in the Law Podcast | June 2021
  • Maine State Bar Association
  • Maine Justice Foundation Bar Fellow

From Summer Associate to CEO.

During her more than 20 years at the firm, Joan has played a pivotal role in shaping Bernstein Shur’s culture and continued growth. Joan began as a summer associate in 1994, and has held various leadership positions in the firm, including: practice group leader, member of Bernstein Shur’s Board of Directors, Director of Attorney Recruiting and Retention, and founding member of the firm’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Throughout this time, Joan has not only honed her skills as a successful attorney handling complex legal matters, but she has also helped to shape the firm as it exists today.

In her role as CEO of Bernstein Shur, Joan works to ensure that the firm and its attorneys live by the firm’s strategic vision and core values. She empowers attorneys to serve clients with energy, empathy, precision, innovation, and with an eye to the future. To encourage Bernstein Shur attorneys to be creative and thoughtful practitioners, Joan consistently creates new opportunities for education and professional development so that they can effectively serve each unique client. Equally important, Joan recognizes the importance of life outside of work, and inspires attorneys and staff to find and pursue their personal passions. This critical balance makes for better lawyers and better legal outcomes for the firm’s clients.

Externally, Joan zealously represents Bernstein Shur in the community and at a wide variety of industry events. She forges meaningful and strategic partnerships with local and national organizations to uplift the communities in which Bernstein Shur employees live and work, leading the firm’s corporate social responsibility efforts in Maine, New Hampshire, and beyond. Joan is regularly invited to speak about current events and their impact on the legal profession, including discussions of ethics, equity in the legal workplace, the importance of female leadership, and embracing change.

Joan leads by example, lives Bernstein Shur’s core values, and reinforces the firm’s commitment to continual learning and entrepreneurship in the practice of law. Committed to practicing compassionate leadership, she works to encourage, guide, and fully support each attorney and staff member in their professional journey at Bernstein Shur.

When Joan isn’t working, she is…

Enjoying each of Maine’s seasons by spending as much time as she can outside near, in, or on Maine’s many lakes, rivers, streams, and mountains. She can also be found traveling to Alaska, a place that holds a special place in her heart and personal history. At home, Joan and her husband are the proud parents of two young adult children.


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

Civic Engagement

Campaign Chair, United Way of Southern Maine (2021)
Member, Colby College Visitors
Steering Committee Member, University of Maine Graduate and Professional Center
Governing Body, New England Rehabilitation Hospital of Portland
Volunteer, Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute
Past Chair, American Heart Association GoRed Luncheon (2019)
Past Member, Board of Directors, Maine Women’s Fund
Past Member, Maine Women’s Fund Grantmaking Committee
Past Member, Lex Mundi Women’s Initiative Recruitment and Retention Task Force