Before entering Parliament, Joanna had been in practice as an Advocate for 20 years. She became a QC in 2009 and is ranked by the Legal 500 as one of the leading QCs in Scotland. She previously held the offices of Standing Junior Counsel to the Scottish Government and Advocate Depute and was one of the first specialist sex crimes prosecutors in the Crown Office’s pioneering National Sex Crimes Unit. She has appeared at the UK Supreme Court on a number of occasions, including twice on behalf of the Lord Advocate. She co-authored the textbook ‘Mental Health & Scots Law in Practice’.
Joanna has been a member of the SNP since 2008 and has long supported independence and home rule. During the Referendum she co-founded and led “Lawyers for Yes”, a group of around 200 lawyers who had a high profile during the campaign and promoted the desirability of continuing EU membership for an independent Scotland.