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Matthew D. Johnson

Partner | Email

  • Grand Rapids

    t. +1.616.752.2529

    f. +1.616.752.2500

Biography

A good lawyer should be a trusted advisor who helps clients obtain goals while protecting their interests – not someone who simply tells them why a particular transaction has some legal risk. There has to be a balance between sound legal advice and business strategy. As a former chief operations officer for a major medical group, Matt Johnson understands that legal issues do not occur in a vacuum and that providing sound legal advice means working with clients to develop solutions to strategic and operational issues.
 
Matt's practice focuses on representing closely held and family-owned businesses with corporate and transactional needs. His goal is to get to know each one of his clients in order to provide efficient legal advice that can further their business goals. This advice can focus on strategic and long-term planning issues or simple day-to-day operational issues and agreements. From standard terms and conditions to strategic joint ventures or a sale or purchase of a business, Matt helps clients by providing practical solutions to complex legal issues.
 
He also represents clients in private securities offerings. This includes emerging growth companies and investors who support the growing entrepreneurial community to nonprofit organizations. From helping start-ups with issues of formation and raising capital to protecting an investor’s rights in a young company, Matt helps facilitate growth and the new ideas of entrepreneurs. He also helps nonprofits fulfill their mission through capital raising efforts, organizational planning, and governance issues.

Matt is the current chair of the firm's Business and Corporate Services Practice Group.

Industries

Education

  • University of Michigan Law School J.D. 2002
  • Albion College 1998 summa cum laude

Admitted

  • 2002, Michigan

Bar Associations

  • State Bar of Michigan
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association

Experience

  • Represents buyers and sellers in asset, equity and bankruptcy sales and purchase transactions valued from $2,000 to $60,000,000
  • Serves as general counsel for several family offices with a variety of operations and ownership issues
  • Serves as general counsel, on a retainer basis, for an organization specializing in tax forms and manages day-to-day operational legal issues
  • Specializes in addressing issues over shareholder or buy and sell agreements for closely held companies, including transfers to succeeding generations
  • Assists start-up clients with raising money through convertible debt and other securities offerings
  • Advises angel and venture investors in investing in convertible debt, preferred stock and other equity instruments, including the negotiation of certain protective provisions 
  • Represented clients conducting offerings of securities in the United States and Canada
  • Represented seller in the sale of a craft beer business
  • Assists clients in supply chain and product distribution issues, including drafting terms and conditions of purchase and sale, and negotiating supply and distribution agreements
  • Represents nonprofit organizations, including an international child adoption agency
  • Assists distressed sellers in the disposition of assets
  • Assists buyers in the acquisition of assets from distressed sellers

Honors & Awards

  • Best Lawyers in America, Corporate Law, 2018-19
  • Named as a Michigan Super Lawyer Rising Star, 2012-2015
  • Michigan Telecommunications and Technology Law Review, Articles Editor

Leadership

Community Affiliations

  • Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding Board member
  • Member of the Harley Owners Group
  • Volunteer Firefighter, Algoma Township, MI
  • Former polo player and coach of the Michigan State University Polo Club

Speaking Engagements

  • "Tax from Start-Ups to Full-Fledged Companies," Innovation Lunch-and-Learn Series, November 8, 2018
  • “Does the Corporate Veil Apply to Cannabis Operators?,” Medical Marihuana – Legal Answers to Your Tough Questions webinar, December 4, 2017

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