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

  • Virtusa in its defense against, and entry into settlement agreement with, New Mountain Vantage Advisers 
  • LaSalle Hotel Properties in its defense of activist campaigns in connection with a hostile takeover
  • Leaf Group in its successful defense of several activists campaigns 
  • 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
  • iRobot in its successful proxy contest concerning board representation against Red Mountain Capital
  • Brightcove in its successful defense of several activists campaigns
  • Progress Software in its successful defense of a threatened proxy contest by Starboard Value

Mergers & Acquisitions

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

  • Virtusa in its $2 billion sale to Baring Private Equity Asia in a "going private" transaction
  • 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
  • Leaf Group in its $323 million sale to Graham Holdings Company
  • 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


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.


Nos équipes interviennent aux côtés de nos clients, industriels, fonds d’investissement, startups, institutions financières et dirigeants, dans le cadre de transactions et de contentieux complexes, et apportent des conseils de tout premier plan dans les secteurs financiers, des Sciences de la Vie, du Private Equity, de l’immobilier et des technologies. Nous traitons les dossiers juridiques de manière intègre, ingénieuse, souple et audacieuse pour répondre efficacement aux enjeux propres à chacun de nos clients, quels que soient la taille de l’opération et le secteur d’activité. Pour en savoir plus, contactez-nous.

Unsere Kunden verlassen sich auf unsere erstklassige Beratung, vor allem im Hinblick auf komplexe Transaktionen und High-Stakes-Prozesse. Spezialisiert auf Angelegenheiten der Finanz-, Life-Sciences-, Private-Equity-, Immobilien-und Technologie-Branchen, verwenden wir einen kooperativen und interdisziplinären Ansatz, um Fragen unserer Kunden auch in extremen Spezialsituationen einer Lösung zuzuführen. Sie wollen mehr erfahren? Kontaktieren Sie uns gerne.

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