Joan Ullman, M.A., has written extensively on some of the flashiest and most controversial criminal and civil courtroom dramas of recent times. Her features articles and profiles have been published in The New York Observer, The National Law Journal, The New York Law Journal, New York Newsday, and The Village Voice. as well as in Psychology Today, Elle, and The New York Times. In the 1990s, she covered more than a half dozen World Trade Center terror trials for The Dallas Morning News. In addition, she reported on the 1999-2000 embassy bombing trial in which four bin Laden associates were convicted, for The Dallas Morning News and The Fort Worth Weekly.
Her studies of abnormal psychology were put to use in covering a number of trials that featured the rarely used insanity plea. Among articles she has written for PT is a lacerating account of the insanities surrounding the insanity trial of Milwaukee’s cannibal serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer. Another article steeped in grisliness, about New City’s East Village cannibal killer Daniel Rakowitz, appeared in The National Law Journal, .
Other trial subjects range from murder, terror and race, to celebrity divorce or custody battles ( like that of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow) to art world litigation. Defendants have included everyone from spouse killers, child murderers and subway bombers to criminal lawyers, detectives, disgraced entrepreneurs, and hardened terrorists
Her court coverage has won her many speaking engagements; in these she has offered a behind-the-scenes look at such high profile trials as that of former Miss America, Bess Meyerson; former Hotel Queen Leona Helmsley; and former mob boss John Gotti.
In addition to her trial reporting, Ullman has published numerous book and movie reviews for The Dallas Morning News, The New York Law Journal, The Chicago Tribune, and other newspapers. Ullman also served as the East Hampton Independent’s chief critic for the Hamptons International Film Festival. Most recently, she was a film critic for Askanewyorker.com.
Ullman attributes her love of trials—and her taste for the grisly—to having grown up in Chicago in social circles that included families of the original "thrill killers," Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, and their victim, "Little Bobbie Franks.” That legendary trial led to her focus on the increasingly blurred lines between justice and celebrity, as stigmas vanished to the point where, today, criminals, rather than being shunned, have became sought-after superstars.