Joan de Venecia majored in Legal Management at the Ateneo de Manila University where she graduated with honours in 2001. She then studied law at the University of the Philippines College of Law. She also graduated class valedictorian with a cum laude distinction. During her time in UP, she did legal research entitled “The Silent Witness Against Torture: Making the Case for Recorded Interrogations.”
She was an award-winning debater and adjudicator, participating in numerous tournaments in the Philippines and other parts of the world, defeating champion debaters from all over. She bagged the Best Oralist Award at the Asia Cup International Law Moot Court Competition 2004 in Japan and was a finalist for best speaker at the Jean-Pictet IHL/Red Cross Competition in France in 2005. During the Philippine Bar Examinations of 2005, she ranked first among the 1,526 examinees that passed the stringent tests.
Joan de Venecia is currently taking her Masters’s in Law at New York University School of Law with a concentration on International Legal Studies. She is on a full tuition scholarship from NYU under the Hugo Grotius Scholarship and a Senator J. William Fulbright grantee. She is a Graduate Editor for the NYU Journal of International Law and Politics.
After graduating from law school, Joan de Venecia joined the SyCip, Salazar, Hernandez and Gatmaitan, which is said to be the biggest law firm in the Philippines. Aside from practicing law, Joan de Venecia also taught Public International Law at the Lyceum of the Philippines University-College of Law in Makati City. She was also a regular lecturer for bar examinees, teaching Procedural Law and Taxation. Joan de Venecia is currently a member of the Asian Society of International Law. According to various interviews, she hopes to join a non-government agency in the future in order to further the cause of the poor and the oppressed. She is well known to colleagues as somebody who hated those who looked down on the underprivileged.
Joan de Venecia is the niece of Pangasinan congressman Jose de Venecia, Jr. Her father, Tony, now deceased, was de Venecia’s elder brother and a retired lawyer and judge in Dagupan City. While she hails from a political family (her half-brother, Alex, is councilor in Dagupan), she has yet to express a desire to join politics herself. Her interests lie on simpler pleasures such as interesting conversations, reading and watching movies.
She has also been known to express opinions that are at odds with her family. For instance, in 2006, she didn’t share her uncle’s support for President Gloria Arroyo’s Proclamation 1017, better known as the 2006 State of Emergency in the Philippines. At that time, Rep. Jose de Venecia was still a staunch ally of the administration. According to Joan, it was wrong to declare a state of emergency after an alleged coup d’état attempt in Camp Aguinaldo. The legal community questioned the constitutionality of the said proclamation and was one of the most controversial actions by the country’s president.