Johanna Schiavoni 2020 SDCBA PRESIDENT By Rebecca Kanter
magine walking into a bar association event with hundreds of people and not knowing anyone except the other junior attorney you came with. You see clusters of veteran lawyers talking to important-looking people who appear to be judges. No one approaches you to talk or invites you to their discussion. You sit down at a table of new faces, but no one introduces themselves. You don’t talk to anyone else, except the one person you came with. You leave the event, and you never go back.
This might sound like one of those commonly recurring nightmares – like the one where you’re speaking to an audience and realize you’re not wearing pants. But in this case, it was a real lived experience, one that new SDCBA President Johanna Schiavoni recounted in her remarks after being sworn in at Stepping Up to the Bar on December 13, 2019. Johanna told the story of attending that bar association event when she was a relatively new lawyer living in
SAN DIEGO LAWYER | January/February 2020
New York and working as an associate at a big law firm. She contrasted that discouraging and alienating experience to the inclusiveness and welcoming atmosphere she found in the San Diego legal community after moving here in 2006. That spirit of community and inclusion has been a hallmark of Johanna’s service throughout her life and will be a significant theme in the coming year as she takes the helm of the region’s largest voluntary bar association.