Head of the Ropes & Gray LLP.’s Premerger Notification practice, Deidre J. Johnson has more than two decades of legal experience. With her accomplished career working with multi-national corporations, counseling on foreign premerger regimes, and hundreds of Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) filings, it is no wonder Johnson has been recognized as New England’s 2021 “Lawyer of the Year” in Antitrust Law.
Johnson has also been recognized for her work in COVID-19 focused litigation. She believes the way she and her team adjusted to the abrupt and significant changes to their work environment and expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to her receiving this award. In March alone, Deidre’s team prepared nearly eight percent of the total HSR filings in the U.S. When the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) proposed and sought comments on potential changes to the HSR Act, more than 36 clients contacted her during the comment period.
“I conducted a number of webinars and presentations on this topic over the past few months,” Johnson said. “Given the great uncertainty across sectors in 2020, I was happy to guide clients through this as a thought leader of sorts.”
Overcoming complicated challenges with her team is one of the most satisfying parts of Johnson’s career.
“Part of my practice is focused on multi-jurisdictional antitrust matters,” Johnson explains. “Securing antitrust clearance on an international M&A deal is like a puzzle; one that can have varying end results because you have to put the pieces together in a number of jurisdictions by understanding the inner workings of regulators in places where you don't even speak the language.
It is a continual challenge to maintain an institutional knowledge of the premerger rules - and the intricacies of those rules - in the U.S. and abroad. There are almost 140 different premerger regimes that continue to evolve. New rules and thresholds are always being introduced. A deal that would not have raised any antitrust issues just a few years ago may be impacted by recent rule changes. It is imperative to stay current, and my team does a great job of that. Achieving success on these types of matters is particularly rewarding.”
Due to the constant developments and changes in rules in her practice, Johnson and her team provide vital support to their clients working complex deals.
“Helping our clients get premerger antitrust clearance for their deals is almost always memorable; I love seeing clients experience that sigh of relief, as premerger clearance signals that the deal they’ve been working so hard on can actually close,” Johnson said. “We have great clients, and we share in their success when they can move forward on their deals.”
A great example of this is was her team’s work advising Bain Capital on its $18 billion acquisition of Toshiba’s chip business. They successfully gained antitrust clearance for this time-sensitive deal that required numerous filings in the U.S. and abroad.
Above all, what makes Johnson feel most accomplished is cultivating a team of likewise talented attorneys.
“Together, we provide first-class client service,” Johnson said about the Premerger Notification practice she heads. “I’m exceptionally proud of these attorneys and having the opportunity to put this team together and grow it from the ground up is a highlight of my career.”