Each week this month we are featuring a 2021 Bernard E. Witkin Award Honoree chosen by the San Diego Law Library Foundation. The Witkin Awards celebrate excellence in the San Diego legal community and the good works done by the honorees. This week we are are spotlighting the Witkin Award Honoree for Excellence in the Practice of Law and Community Changemaker, Johanna Schiavoni, Esq.


Johanna Schiavoni is a certified specialist in appellate law and served as lead counsel in more than 100 appellate matters. She regularly handles cases in state and federal appellate courts, representing clients in complex civil appeals and writs, serving as amicus curiae counsel, and handling court-appointed criminal appeals on behalf of indigent clients. She has earned a reputation as an insightful strategist, a clear and concise writer, a compelling oral advocate, and an attorney embodying the highest standards of civility, ethics, and professionalism. She also has made a significant impact through her committed service to the legal and broader community.


In 2006, Schiavoni moved to San Diego working as a law clerk for Ninth Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown. After that clerkship, she joined Latham’s San Diego office, then Jacobs & Schlesinger before launching her own boutique appellate practice in 2013. She joined California Appellate Law Group LLP in January 2020 and launched its San Diego office. Schiavoni has been selected by her peers to the San Diego Super Lawyers list for appellate litigation seven years running, and named each year from 2017 through 2021 as one of San Diego’s “Top 25 Women Attorneys” and “Top 50 Attorneys” overall.


Her service to the local legal community is longstanding, joining the Welsh Inn of Court, American Constitution Society–San Diego Lawyer Chapter, and Lawyers Club of San Diego (elected to Board in 2010 and President from 2013-14). She joined Run Women Run in its early days in 2008 and helped lead two successful “Political Boot Camp” programs with Run Women Run and Lawyers Club. In 2010, she became a founding member of Women Give San Diego – a women’s donor circle that in 11 years has raised and granted more than $1.1 million to over 30 organizations helping under-resourced women and girls in San Diego County achieve and maintain economic sustainability.


Schiavoni is passionate about civic engagement and the performing arts. From 2011 to 2016, she co-founded the San Diego Leadership Alliance, an all-volunteer-run nonprofit organization that hosts a six-month leadership Institute with the mission to develop the next gen­er­a­tion of pro­gres­sive civic leaders in San Diego. She served on the La Jolla Music Society Board from 2010 to 2013. She also served the community on government Boards. From 2013 to 2021, she was a Mayoral appointee to San Diego’s Balboa Park Committee, which advises the City on policy issues relating the region’s crown jewel.


Join the celebration of Johanna Schiavoni’s amazing career by making your reservation for the San Diego Law Library Foundation’s 2021 Bernard E. Witkin Award Reception. This year’s reception will be held on October 14th from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse, and also be virtually streamed online for those who cannot attend in person. The Witkin Award Reception is the primary fundraiser of the San Diego Law Library Foundation.