Joseph L JohnsonIII

Joseph L. Johnson III

Joseph L. Johnson III
+1 617 570 1633

Joe Johnson is a partner in Goodwin’s Business Law department, former chair of its M&A / Corporate Governance practice and head of its Shareholder Activism & Takeover Defense practice. Joe advises clients in shareholder activism matters, public mergers and acquisitions, and a variety of strategic corporate governance matters. He regularly advises clients in a variety of industries including technology, life sciences, and real estate.


Joe’s recent work includes:

  • Represented Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers in connection with successfully obtaining shareholder approval of its $7.3 billion acquisition of IAA, Inc in a 2023 proxy contest against Luxor Capital
  • Successfully defending Mimecast, a cybersecurity company, in its 2022 $5.8 billion sale to Primera, against an unsolicited higher bid from Proofpoint
  • Represented Anika Therapeutics in a 2023 defense of an activist campaign by Caligan Partners, LP
  • Represented Leaf Group, a diversified consumer internet company, in several different activist campaigns over 2019 and 2020 and in its 2021 $323 million sale to Graham Holdings Group
  • Virtusa, a global provider of digital strategy, engineering, and IT services and solutions, turned to Goodwin’s Shareholder Activism and Public M&A team to help in its 2020 defense against the proxy contest launched by New Capital Vantage Advisors and in its 2021 $2 billion take private transaction
  • LaSalle Hotel Properties turned to Goodwin’s Shareholder Activism team in its 2018 defense against several activists and its $4.8 billion sale to Blackstone in the same year




Boston College Law School

(summa cum laude)


Vassar College

(cum laude)



  • Massachusetts

Recognition & Awards

Joe has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America Best Lawyers for his work in Mergers and Acquisitions Law 2022-2023.

Joe has been selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, US News-Best Lawyers, The Legal 500 US and Massachusetts Super Lawyers. He has been consistently recognized in The Legal 500 US as a “Leading Lawyer” for middle-market M&A. He was Editor-in-Chief of the Boston College Law Review during 1985-1986.