Joanna received her B.A. in Film Studies and Comparative Literature and Culture from the University of Western Ontario in 2004, where she was a gold medalist. She then received her J.D. from the University of Toronto in 2007, and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2008. She was also a member of the Bar of Nunavut from 2015 to 2017.
Joanna has over 10 years of litigation experience, as well as prior experience working with law students in a clinic environment. After articling with a prestigious criminal defence firm, Joanna initially set up her own practice in Toronto, dedicated to criminal law. During this time, she also completed a contract working as Review Counsel in the criminal law division of a student legal clinic in Toronto. Joanna then joined Edward H. Royle and Associates, where she continued to gain criminal trial and advocacy experience, handling judge-alone trials at both the Ontario Court of Justice and Superior Court of Justice, as well as jury trials at the Superior Court of Justice. In 2015, Joanna moved to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, to work as criminal counsel with the Legal Services Board. She did criminal defence work in the Kitikmeot region until she moving to Thunder Bay in order to take the position of Review Counsel at Lakehead University Community Legal Services, Joanna supervises student caseworkers handling criminal matters, provincial offences and landlord tenant files.