University of Denver
J.D. | 1979
Law Review

Dartmouth College
B.A., cum laude, with distinction in History | 1975


  • New Hampshire | 1984
  • Maine | 1979


John Upton’s practice focuses on representation of businesses in all facets of their operations. Mr. Upton has substantial expertise in legal issues affecting a wide range of business sectors including energy distribution, forest products, medical device manufacturing, equipment distribution, professional services, real estate finance, food sales and insurance. He has extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions; entity selection, formation, governance, and shareholder matters; debt and equity financing; contract negotiation; regulatory compliance; and, private foundation and nonprofit organizations.

In the acquisition field, Mr. Upton has played a lead role in business acquisitions and sales throughout New England. Recent representative transactions include assisting a Canadian acquirer of a forest products mill located in northern Maine, advising the owners of a regional heavy equipment distributor in the sale of their stock to a publicly traded company entering the New England market, representing the purchaser of petroleum distribution and storage assets from a Fortune 100 company, forming an acquisition group of former plant managers and outside investors to acquire a food processing facility, and advising a medical device manufacturer in growth stage strategic acquisitions.

In the energy sector, Mr. Upton has played a central role in all facets of energy distribution including negotiation of marine and inland terminal joint venture and throughput agreements, international marine cargo supply agreements, rail and land transport product sales agreements, jobber and multi-site dealer acquisitions and all aspects of regulatory compliance in the energy sector.

Corporate governance and shareholder matters recently concluded by Mr. Upton include advising owners of several closely held companies with shareholder buy-sell and stock restriction agreements, assisting foreign corporations with multi-state and cross border regulatory compliance, and drafting an employee stock plan for a rapid growth employer.

Contract negotiation and drafting also comprise a significant portion of the services Mr. Upton provides. He has recently played a lead role in the drafting of long term fiber supply agreements in the forest products sector. He has drafted joint venture arrangements involving the development of land for industrial and commercial purposes. He regularly advises clients with distribution and licensing agreements in the manufacturing field, including protection of inventions and other intellectual property. Mr. Upton also regularly assists clients with competition, employment, business immigration and governance issues affecting their businesses.

Mr. Upton frequently advises companies based in Atlantic Canada and Quebec, and has gained significant expertise on issues related to cross-border operations, sales and compliance issues.


  • Maine Bar Association
  • Cumberland Bar Association
  • American Bar Association

Service / Achievements

Mr. Upton has been selected by his peers since 2006 for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the fields of Corporate Lawand Mergers and Acquisitions. Mr. Upton is AV Peer Review Rated for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability by Martindale-Hubbell, a distinction held for twenty years.

John serves as a trustee of the Maine Audubon Society and has held leadership positions with the Portland Museum of Art, the Maine Winter Sports Center, the United States Biathlon Foundation, the New England Nordic Ski Association, the Maine Bar Association and Cape Nordic.


Mr. Upton served as Perkins Thompson’s President for over a decade before stepping down in 2014. He continued full-time practice as Chair of the Firm’s Business Department through 2022 and is currently Senior Counsel to the Firm. Mr. Upton is married to Anne Stockmar Upton and lives in Cape Elizabeth. He enjoys skiing, fly fishing, and historic architecture and decorative arts.