About Johanna S. Schiavoni

Johanna is the founder and principal of the Law Office of Johanna S. Schiavoni. She has more than ten years of experience litigating high stakes cases and achieving outstanding results for her clients. Johanna regularly handles appeals in the Ninth Circuit, California Courts of Appeal, and other appellate courts.

Areas of Expertise

In the business litigation arena, Johanna’s experience includes litigating California business torts, healthcare law, employment matters, insurance coverage, contracts, privacy, constitutional law, civil procedure issues, patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade dress, trade secrets, commercial fraud, unfair competition, securities, regulatory and administrative law issues, ethical compliance, employee pension matters, and claims against public entities.

Johanna also has significant experience litigating California consumer class actions at the trial and appellate levels.

In the criminal and immigration arenas, Johanna has litigated juvenile delinquency matters, habeas claims under the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), Sixth Amendment jury trial and sentencing issues, Fourth Amendment search and seizure issues, Eighth Amendment claims for medical treatment, substantive and procedural due process issues, and various immigration claims, including asylum, cancellation of removal, and claims of fraud and ineffective assistance of counsel.

» read more here

Legal Career and Experience

After graduating from the UCLA School of Law, Johanna completed two prestigious federal judicial clerkships. She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Christina A. Snyder in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and as a law clerk to the Honorable M. Margaret McKeown on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. During these clerkships, Johanna handled more than 80 trial and appellate cases and gained critical “behind the scenes” insight into judicial procedures and decision-making.

Johanna also worked for six years as a litigator with AmLaw 100 firm Latham & Watkins LLP in the firm’s New York and San Diego offices. At Latham, Johanna gained extensive experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants at the trial and appellate levels. She specialized in appellate, intellectual property, labor and employment, class action, and healthcare law.

For two years, Johanna was an appellate litigation Partner with San Diego law firm Jacobs & Schlesinger LLP. She was lead appellate counsel in more than a dozen civil, criminal and immigration appeals, and served as strategic counsel to trial counsel in numerous consumer class actions and high-stakes trial matters.

She recently founded this boutique appellate litigation firm to expand on her specialty practice in appeals and writs.

Education and Teaching Experience

Johanna received her undergraduate honors degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 1998, with a major in political science and a minor in women’s studies.

She obtained her law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2002. At UCLA, Johanna was a Comments Editor of the UCLA Law Review and published a student article in that journal. The article analyzed a cutting-edge issue of appellate procedure regarding federal courts’ increasing use of “unpublished” (nonbinding) decisions, and the impact on litigants and the justice system. This important issue is still being debated today, and Johanna’s article has been cited more than twenty times in other published articles, journals and legal briefs.

While in law school, Johanna worked as a judicial extern for the Honorable Alex Kozinski, now Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She also taught legal writing to other law students, served as a teaching assistant for civil procedure courses, and worked as a teaching fellow overseeing the academic support program for first year law students.

Finally, Johanna was one of a select group of graduate students – and the only law student her year – chosen to be a University Teaching Fellow. Through that program, she developed and taught a UCLA undergraduate honors law course about the U.S. Supreme Court’s death penalty jurisprudence. The course addressed the complex legal issues – including race, gender, age, geography, mental capacity, effectiveness of counsel, jury selection, prosecutorial discretion and misconduct, states’ rights, and expert testimony – which arise in the context of death penalty litigation.

Other Passions and Pursuits

An avid world traveler and hiker, Johanna recently trekked through the high Andes up to the Machu Picchu ruins in Peru and hiked the “W” trek in Torres Del Paine National Park, in Patagonia, Chile. She is also an amateur photographer, and enjoys documenting her world travels and her beautiful home of San Diego.

Professional Associations

  • Lawyers Club of San Diego, President (2013-2014); Board member (2010-2013)
  • San Diego County Bar Association, Appellate Court Committee, member; past Chair – Programs Committee (2011); past Chair – Civil Rules Subcommittee (2010)
  • American Constitution Society San Diego Lawyer Chapter, Board Member (2009-2012)
  • Louis M. Welsh Inn of Court, Barrister Member (2008-2010)
  • Graduate of NITA Trial Advocacy Institute, October 2007

Community Activities

  • San Diego Leadership Alliance – Founding Co-Director, Board of Directors (2011-present)
  • New Leaders Council – San Diego Chapter, Advisory Board Member (2010-2011) and Institute Chair (2011)
  • La Jolla Music Society, Member – Board of Directors (2010-present); past Chair and Founding Member, Allegro Society (2008-present)
  • Women Give San Diego, Co-Chair – Advocacy Leadership Team (2012-present); Founding member (2009-present)
  • Run Women Run, Programs Committee member (2010-present)

Speaking Engagements

  • Presenter, “Recognizing and Eliminating Gender Bias,” October 22, 2015, Dependency Legal Group
  • Panelist, “Strategic Considerations in Preparing a Case for Appeal,” June 17, 2015, San Diego Defense Lawyers
  • Panelist, “Nuts & Bolts of Preparing a Case for Appeal,” November 11, 2014, San Diego Defense Lawyers
  • Presenter, “Recognizing and Eliminating Gender Bias: Understanding Implicit Bias and Micromessaging,” October 29, 2014, Appellate Defenders Inc.
  • Moderator, Discussion with U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand about her book “Off the Sidelines,” and Women in Politics and the Law, October 15, 2014
  • Presenter, Equal Pay Day, April 8, 2014, Lawyers Club of San Diego
  • Interviewed by KPBS for TV and radio segments on April 9, 2014, regarding Equal Pay Day and the gender wage gap
  • Presenter, Equal Pay Day, April 9, 2013, Lawyers Club of San Diego
  • Interviewed by KPBS for TV and radio segments on April 8, 2013, regarding Equal Pay Day and the gender wage gap
  • Co-Presenter, March 2013, San Diego County Bar Association, “Recognizing and Eliminating Gender Bias in Law Firms to Maximize Revenue by Retaining and Promoting Women Lawyers,” CLE course
  • Co-Presenter, November 2012, La Jolla Bar Association, “Why Diversity Is Important to Your Business,” CLE course
  • Presenter, October 2011, Lawyers Club Equality Survey, published by Lawyers Club (as Equality Committee Chair)
  • Speaker, Fall 2010, Various “Lunch and Learn” sessions with Women’s Law Caucus groups at the University of San Diego Law School and California Western School of Law
  • Presenter, January 2010, “Appellate Practice Before the Board of Immigration Appeals,” American Bar Association—Immigration Justice Project
  • Co-Presenter, July 2009, “Appellate Practice,” Latham & Watkins LLP
  • Panelist, March 2009, “The Role of a Law Clerk,” Pepperdine University School of Law, Wm. Matthew Byrne, Jr., Judicial Clerkship Institute


Photo credit (top): maveric2003

Highlights of Bio

  • B.A., Washington University in St. Louis
  • J.D., University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law
  • Judicial extern, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • Law Clerk, Judge Christina A. Snyder, U.S. District Court for the Central District of


  • Law Clerk, Judge M. Margaret McKeown, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • Litigator at Latham & Watkins LLP (New York and San Diego)
  • Partner, Appellate Litigation at Jacobs & Schlesinger LLP
  • Lawyers Club of San Diego – President (2013-2014)


  • 2015 & 2016 “Super Lawyers” list, Appellate Litigation (top 5% of attorneys)
  • 2015, Women Who Mean Business, Finalist
  • 2014, “Community Service” Award, San Diego County Bar Association
  • 2013, Women Who Move the City, Nominee
  • 2011, SD METRO Magazine “40 Under 40” Award for High Achievement in Business and Civic Affairs
  • multiple years, Manuel W. Wiley Award for Pro Bono Service, State Bar of California
  • Appellate Court Committee, San Diego County Bar Association, past Chair – Programs (2011); past Chair – Civil Rules Subcommittee (2010)
  • 2011, “Outstanding Program” Award to Lawyers Club of San Diego from the National Conference of Women Bar Associations for “Pipeline to Leadership: Securing Spots on Boards and Commissions” (Event Co-Chair)
  • 2009, San Diego County Bar Association “Bar Star”

Court Admissions

  • California and New York bar admissions
  • Federal appellate court admissions in the Second, Ninth and Federal Circuits
  • Numerous federal district court admissions

Contact Information

Law Office of
Johanna S. Schiavoni

3170 Fourth Avenue
Suite 250
San Diego, CA 92103
T:(619) 269-4046
LinkedIn Avvo