Johanna in the News

Johanna is deeply involved in the legal community. She serves in numerous leadership roles, which allow her to bring additional perspective to each clients' legal matter.

Johanna's legal work, community leadership and achievements have been recognized locally, statewide and nationally. She is a frequent speaker at continuing legal education courses and community events.

Johanna Schiavoni Is Certified as an Appellate Law Specialist

July 1, 2016

Johanna Schiavoni has been awarded the distinction of Certified Appellate Specialist by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization.  There are fewer than 300 Certified Appellate Specialist attorneys in California (out of approximately 187,000 active attorneys in California). Achieving this certification requires passing a rigorous written examination, in addition to meeting extensive experiential requirements, including participating in specialized appellate educational courses, preparing numerous written appellate briefs and conducting at least seven oral arguments, and ultimately being selected through peer review.  Read more on Johanna’s State Bar profile here:

Johanna Schiavoni Is Elected to the San Diego County Bar Association Board of Directors

December 5, 2015

Johanna Schiavoni was elected in November to serve as an At-Large Director of the San Diego County Bar Association. She was sworn in to that position on December 4, 2015, at the SDCBA’s annual Stepping Up to the Bar event. Johanna will serve a 3-year term as a Director.

The SDCBA is the region’s oldest and largest bar association. The SDCBA’s mission is to be San Diego County’s representative of the legal profession, serving the public and the profession by enhancing the legal system and promoting justice, professional excellence and respect for the law.

Johanna also has been selected to serve as the SCDBA’s Chair of the Court Funding Action Committee, which advocates for restoration of funding to the state court system.

SDCBA 2015 Swearing in photo

Johanna Schiavoni Announces Her Candidacy for the San Diego County Bar Association Board of Directors

October 14, 2015

Johanna Schiavoni has announced her candidacy for one of the 4 at-large Director positions on the San Diego County Bar Association Board of Directors. You can read more about Johanna’s experience and priorities for the SDCBA Board here:  Johanna Schiavoni

As an appellate litigator with both a civil and criminal practice, Johanna has more than twelve years of public and private sector experience across a broad spectrum of areas. She has been deeply involved in the SDCBA and legal community, working on issues like court funding, access to justice, advancing diversity and inclusion, and mentoring younger attorneys. She has demonstrated her commitment and leadership abilities within SDCBA committees, as a recent past president of Lawyers Club of San Diego, and as the 2014 recipient of the SDCBA’s Award for Outstanding Community Service.

Electronic voting for the 2016 SDCBA Board of Directors is open from October 15 – November 13, 2015 at

SDCBA Schiavoni flyer

Johanna Schiavoni Is Selected for Inclusion in the 2016 San Diego “Super Lawyers” List for Appellate Litigation

September 30, 2015

Johanna again has been recognized as one of San Diego’s top appellate attorneys, with her selection to the San Diego “Super Lawyers” list for 2016. Only 5% of attorneys are recognized with this honor, and only after a rigorous selection process that identifies the area’s top attorneys. The issue of San Diego Super Lawyers will be published in January 2016.

Johanna Schiavoni Presents a Second Appellate Seminar to the San Diego Defense Lawyers to Help Trial Attorneys Prepare for an Appeal

June 17, 2015

After being invited back to the San Diego Defense Lawyers, Johanna served as an expert panelist discussing best practices for trial attorneys preparing a case for a later potential appeal. Her presentation addressed key stages of a litigation in which it may benefit trial counsel to consult with an appellate expert, including pre-trial motions, during trial for issue preservation and trial motions, jury instructions and special verdict forms, post-trial motions, and post-appeal petitions or motions including, for costs, fees, or other proceedings on remand. Johanna also discussed strategic considerations at the outset of an appeal, tips on issue selection in appellate briefing, the importance of standards of review, and the types of petitions and relief available via extraordinary writs.

Johanna Schiavoni and Josh Gruenberg Secure a Complete Appellate Victory in a Sexual Harassment and Wrongful Termination Case Against a Prominent San Diego Golf Club

March 24, 2015

A 3-judge panel of the California appellate court in San Diego issued a sweeping appellate victory to the plaintiff in a sexual harassment and wrongful termination case. The case was handled in the trial court by San Diego employment attorney Josh Gruenberg, and by appellate attorney Johanna Schiavoni on appeal.

After extensive briefing in this hard-fought case, the appellate court overturned the trial court’s grant of summary adjudication and summary judgment on five separate causes of action, including hostile work environment sexual harassment, failure to prevent harassment and retaliation in violation of the Fair Housing and Employment Act (FEHA), in addition to claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress and wrongful termination in violation of public policy. The court’s decision is available at Dawson v. Country Club of Rancho Bernardo (Mar. 23, 2015) 2015 WL 1311302, 126 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. (BNA) 1300.

The appellate court adopted Johanna’s argument, agreeing that the employee raised triable issues of fact on both the subjective and objective aspects of her sexual harassment, failure to prevent harassment and IIED claims, and that the trial court erred by considering the evidence in piecemeal fashion and discounting certain of the employee’s evidence. The court also agreed that the employee raised triable issues that she was retaliated against and wrongfully terminated within just weeks after she complained about the harassing conduct. The court held the company manager to whom the employee complained demonstrated hostility and bias against her during the investigation and that the evidence showed other inconsistencies in the company’s “performance-based” explanation for the termination. Thus, there were triable issues regarding whether the termination was instead done in retaliation for the employee’s protected conduct of complaining about her supervisor’s harassment.

The Court of Appeal reversed the judgment in its entirety, awarded costs to the plaintiff, and remanded the case for trial on all five causes of action.

Johanna Schiavoni Presents an Appellate Seminar to the San Diego Defense Lawyers on Strategic Considerations in Preparing for an Appeal

November 11, 2014

Before an audience from the San Diego Defense Lawyers association, Johanna Schiavoni served as an expert panelist discussing strategic considerations in preparing for an appeal.  Her presentation addressed state and federal appellate courts’ typical timeline from filing of notice of appeal to decision, venue considerations, fees and costs, posting an appeal bond and stays of a judgment, critical appeal deadlines, issue analysis and selection in evaluating the strength of an appeal, key standards of review, desired outcomes, publicity considerations, and direct appeals versus writ petitions.

Contact Information

Law Office of
Johanna S. Schiavoni

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