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. Mr. Johnson 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.





Mr. Johnson’s recent work includes:

Proxy Contests and Other Shareholder Activism Matters

  • LaSalle Hotel Properties in its defense of activist campaigns in connection with a hostile takeover
  • Monotype in its successful defense of a threatened proxy contest by Starboard Value
  • Cognizant in the negotiation of a cooperation agreement with Elliott Management
  • PAREXEL in its defense of activist campaigns led by Corvex and Starboard Value
  • Leaf Group in its successful defense of a threatened proxy contest by Osmium Partners
  • iRobot in its successful proxy contest concerning board representation against Red Mountain Capital
  • Brightcove in its entry into a cooperation agreement with, and subsequent successful defense of a threatened proxy contest by, Tenzing Global
  • Progress Software in its successful defense of a threatened proxy contest by Starboard Value
  • Cedar Realty Trust in the negotiation of a cooperation agreement with Snow Park Capital
  • CPS Technologies in its successful defense of a threatened proxy contest and “vote against” campaign by the Horton Group
  • Relmada Therapeutics in its proxy contest and related litigation against Laidlaw, which sought unsuccessfully to replace a majority of the company’s board
  • Lionbridge in its response to, and entry into a cooperation agreement with, Glen Capital Partners
  • LoJack in its response to, and entry into a cooperation agreement with, Engine Capital
  • Mac-Gray Corporation in its proxy contests against Moab Partners
  • Invesco Closed-end Funds trustees in response to shareholder proposals and nominations from, and entry into standstill agreement with, Saba Capital

Mergers & Acquisitions

Mr. Johnson has substantial experience in the merger and acquisition area representing both buyers and sellers, including:

  • LaSalle Hotel Properties in its response to unsolicited public acquisition proposals from Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, leading to its proposed $4.8 billion sale to Blackstone in a “going private” transaction, and subsequent acceptance of topping bid from, and $5.2 billion cash and shares acquisition by, Pebblebrook Hotel Trust
  • Control4 in its $680 million sale to SnapAV, a portfolio company of Hellman & Friedman
  • Monotype in its $825 million sale to HGGC
  • Imprivata in its $544 million sale to Thoma Bravo in a “going private” transaction
  • Millennial Media in its $248 million sale to AOL
  • Covidien in its $250 million acquisition of Somanetics
  • Ansys, Inc. with its acquisitions of Ansoft Corporation, Apache Design Solutions, Inc., Fluent, Inc., Reaction Design Corporation and Space Claim Corp


Mr. Johnson has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America Best Lawyers for his work in Mergers and Acquisitions Law 2022. 

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

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J.D., 1986
Boston College Law School

(summa cum laude)

B.A., 1983
Vassar College

(cum laude)



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Our clients rely on us for world-class advisory services, counsel on complex transactional work and high-stakes litigation. Specializing in matters involving the financial, life sciences, private equity, real estate, and technology industries, we use a collaborative, cross-disciplinary approach to resolve our clients’ most challenging issues. To find out more, please contact us.

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