Practice Focus

Johanna Schneider focuses her practice on real estate development permitting, land use and environmental litigation, and representing public and private clients at the trial and appellate levels. She guides owners, developers and other entities through local, state, and federal permitting processes for complex real estate development projects. She regularly represents clients before the following permitting authorities:

  • Boston Planning and Development Agency
  • Boston Zoning Commission
  • Municipal Zoning Boards of Appeal
  • City and Town Planning Boards
  • MEPA

In addition, public- and private-sector clients seek her help for litigation matters involving:

  • Zoning, subdivision, wetlands and land use permitting appeals;
  • Real property disputes, including easement, adverse possession and construction claims;
  • Environmental contamination disputes; and
  • Eminent domain claims


Prior to joining Rackemann, she was a partner at Choate, Hall & Stewart in Boston. Johanna worked for two Washington, D.C.–area consulting firms before entering law school, providing contract support to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Honors and Awards

  • Massachusetts Super Lawyer (2014-2017)
  • Massachusetts Super Lawyers, Rising Stars (2009-2010), in a research project conducted jointly by Boston and Law & Politics magazines.
Notable Experience

Notable Experience

  • Assisted national REIT in obtaining state and municipal approvals for the development of 700+ apartment units in the West End of Boston
  • Assisted national real estate developer in permitting of 85-unit apartment complex in Kendall Square, Cambridge
  • Represented Boston-based developer in obtaining state and municipal approvals for development of 80 residential units in Brighton (Boston)
  • Represented developer in securing planning board approval of 40+ lot residential subdivision
  • Represented Fortune 100 company in multi-party real estate contract and construction litigation
  • Assisted national REIT in obtaining state and local permits for 440-unit residential development in Chinatown neighborhood of Boston
  • Represented regional land use planning authorities in numerous permit appeals in Land Court and Superior Court
  • Represented financial institution and charitable foundation in mediation to resolve CERCLA liability arising from hazardous waste activities of predecessor entities
  • Represented clients in eminent domain trials in state and federal courts
Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Town of Brookline Zoning Board of Appeals, Member (2013-present)
  • Member, Massachusetts Land Court Working Group on Litigation Alternatives (2015-present)
  • Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Green Associate
  • Boston Bar Association Land Use and Development Committee, Co-Chair (2012-2014)
  • Boston Bar Association Law Day Dinner Steering Committee Member (2014; 2016)
  • National Association of Office and Industrial Properties, Municipal Bylaw Review Subcommittee
  • University of Virginia Law School Foundation, Class Agent
  • Town of Brookline Zoning By-Law Committee, Member

Publications & Talks

  • Co-Author of the article “Condo Developers Must Understand Building Defect Claims” published in Law360, March 22, 2018
  • Moderator, “The (Slow) Rise and (Sudden) Fall of the Chapter 40B Municipal Planning Defense”, Boston Bar Association, April 25, 2014.
  • Moderator, “Massachusetts Zoning Reform: A Critical Analysis of the Zoning Reform Bill H#1859”, Boston Bar Association, October 10, 2013.
  • Moderator, “Update on Standing Law”, Boston Bar Association, April 14, 2013.
  • Moderator, “Understanding the Land Court: The Ins and Outs of Litigating and Dealing with the Registered Land System,” Boston Bar Association Continuing Legal Education Program, October 2, 2012.
  • “Capturing the Renewable Energy Potential of Commercial Buildings,” speaker, Developing the Community: A Conference on New Markets, Historic, and Energy Tax Credits, Grants and Programs, American Bar Association, Newport, RI, October 2009.
  • Massachusetts Land Use Monitor Articles:
    • City of Boston Updates its Inclusionary Development Policy, February 19, 2016
    • Zoning Out? Mass. Municipalities Grapple With Medical Marijuana, December 28, 2013
    • So What If It Looks, Walks and Quacks Like A Duck? AG’s Office Approves Brookline’s “Neighborhood Conservation District” Bylaws, June 6, 2012
    • AG Reviewing Controversial “Neighborhood Conservation District” in Brookline, March 19, 2012
Personal Interests

Personal Interests

PTO Room Parent, Michael Driscoll Elementary School, Brookline, MA

Board Member, Driscoll Extended Day Program