Certified Family Law Specialist
Marnie Smith

Marnie Smith is a founding partner of Smith & Scatizzi, LLP. Practicing for over 20 years, she has significant experience in family law, as well as complex business litigation. Since 2003, her practice has focused primarily on all aspects of family law, including dissolutions, legal separations, contested child custody matters, establishing and modifying child and spousal support, division of assets, and paternity disputes. Ms. Smith also assists clients with pre-marital and post-marital agreements, as well as cohabitation (“Anti-Marvin”) agreements. She was named one of 2008’s top family law attorneys by the San Diego Daily Transcript, has been recognized since 2016 in The Best Lawyers in America for her work in family law, and was named a 2017 San Diego Super Lawyer.  Ms. Smith’s experience also includes handling numerous appellate matters in both state and federal courts, including the California Second and Fourth Appellate Districts, the California Supreme Court, the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal, the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeal and the United States Supreme Court.  Ms. Smith is certified as a family law specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.

In addition to her litigation practice, Ms. Smith is trained to mediate family law cases, acting as a neutral party to facilitate an amicable and successful resolution of family law disputes.

Education

Ms. Smith received her Bachelor of Science degree in 1993 from California State University, Sacramento in business administration with an emphasis in finance. She earned her law degree, cum laude, from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1996, where she was the Chief Comment Editor of the Pacific Law Journal. Ms. Smith completed her mediation training with the National Conflict Resolution Center.

Employment Background

Ms. Smith began her legal career in 1996 at Magana, Cathcart & McCarthy in Los Angeles, California. In 1998, Ms. Smith joined the San Diego law firm of Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek as a litigation associate, and was elected as a shareholder in 2005. In 2013, she left Seltzer Caplan to form Smith & Scatizzi, LLP.

Professional and Community Affiliations and Admissions

Ms. Smith is admitted to the State Bar of California, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal. She is a member of the San Diego County Bar Association and Lawyers Club of San Diego.

Publications and Speaking Engagements

Ms. Smith has been a featured speaker on various legal topics. Most recently, in 2012 she presented “Estate Planning from a Divorce Attorneys’ Perspective” to the La Jolla Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Section. Other speaking engagement include “Women in the Law,” Cal Western Latino Association; “Navigating Waivers, an Ethics Presentation,” San Diego County Bar Association; and “Legal Ethics in California,” Lorman Education Services Seminar.

Publications include Mercury Ins. Group v. Superior Court (1998) 19 Cal.4th 332.

icon_contactms@smithscatizzi.com / Direct: 619-344-0420

Certified Family Law Specialist
Rachel Scatizzi Thompson

Rachel Scatizzi Thompson is a founding partner of Smith & Scatizzi, LLP. Her practice emphasizes family law, with a focus on contested custody and paternity matters and high asset dissolution cases. Ms. Thompson also is licensed to practice law in Missouri and Illinois and has several years’ experience in civil litigation. She was named one of 2011’s Top Young Attorneys by the San Diego Daily Transcript, was a finalist for the San Diego Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business” Awards in 2014 and 2016, a finalist for San Diego Magazine’s “Woman of the Year” in 2016, and has been named a Super Lawyers Rising Star three straight years (2015, 2016 and 2017).  In addition to a growing practice in adoption and assisted reproductive technology, Ms. Thompson regularly assists clients with mediated settlement agreements, negotiation of pre-marital and post-marital agreements, drafting and review of parentage agreements, domestic violence restraining orders, and post-dissolution modifications of custody and support. She has been a featured speaker on topics such as intellectual property rights under a community property regime and planning for a stable financial future.  Ms. Thompson is certified as a family law specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.

Education

Ms. Thompson received her Bachelor of Journalism degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Missouri in 2001. She earned her Juris Doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis in 2005. While in law school Ms. Thompson was an associate editor of the Global Studies Law Review, recipient of awards for excellence in oral advocacy, and participated in several national trial competitions.

Employment Background

Prior to starting Smith & Scatizzi, LLP in 2013, Ms. Thompson was a litigation associate at Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek in San Diego and at Carmody MacDonald in St. Louis, Missouri, where she also served as the firm’s pro bono coordinator. Ms. Thompson also worked as a law clerk for the Hon. Michael J. Reagan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, and as a mock trial coach at Washington University School of Law. While attending Washington University School of Law, Ms. Thompson interned with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois. During her tenure in St. Louis, Ms. Thompson received the Milton F. Napier award for Excellence in Trial Advocacy.

Professional and Community Affiliations and Admissions

Ms. Thompson is the 2016-2018 President of the Junior League of San Diego and has previously served three times on the JLSD Board of Directors (Fund Development Director 2011-2012, Vice President 2012-2013, Nominating Chair 2014-2015). She also has been an alumnae member of the advisory board for the Zeta Rho chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta at the University of California, San Diego and the Gamma Sigma chapter at San Diego State University. As a member of the Lawyer’s Club of San Diego, Ms. Thompson served on the Women’s Resource Fair Task Force for three years, with principal responsibility for recruiting and managing more than 300 community volunteers to staff the annual outreach event for homeless, recovering, abused and indigent women. Since 2015 she also has been involved with the Lawyer’s Club of San Diego’s Human Trafficking Task Force.

Ms. Thompson is admitted to the State Bar of California, State Bar of Missouri, State Bar of Illinois and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. She is a member of the San Diego County Bar Association.

icon_contactrst@smithscatizzi.com / Direct: 619-344-0425
Marissa Johnson

Ms. Johnson is an associate at Smith & Scatizzi, LLP. Her practice emphasizes family law, comprising all aspects of the dissolution of marriage process including child custody and visitation, temporary and permanent support orders, and complex property division. Ms. Johnson regularly assists clients in contested family law proceedings, as well as resolving issues through mediation. She also negotiates, drafts and reviews pre-marital and post-marital agreements, assists clients with post-dissolution modifications of custody and support, and obtaining or defending against domestic violence restraining orders.

Education

Ms. Johnson received her Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology and History, cum laude, from the University of California, San Diego in 2005. She earned her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the University of San Diego School of Law in 2009 where she was inducted into the Order of the Coif. While in law school, Ms. Johnson acted as a research assistant and examined the legislative history behind the enactment of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. She was also Vice President of the Criminal Law Society, a teaching assistant for civil procedure and criminal law classes, and was recognized for her written brief in the 2008 Paul A. McLennon, Sr. Honors Moot Court Tournament.

Employment Background

Prior to joining Smith & Scatizzi, LLP in 2014, Ms. Johnson was a litigation associate at Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek in San Diego. During her time at the University of San Diego, Ms. Johnson served as Judicial Extern for the Honorable Leo S. Papas, worked as a law clerk with the United States Attorney’s Office, Criminal Division, and assisted pro bono clients at the San Diego domestic violence restraining order clinic.

Professional and Community Affiliations and Admissions

Ms. Johnson has been a member of the Junior League of San Diego since 2012 and will serve on its Board of Directors in 2016-2017. As a member of the Lawyer’s Club of San Diego, Ms. Johnson previously served on the Women’s Resource Fair Task Force. Ms. Johnson received a “Volunteer of Excellence” award in 2006 from Children’s Hospital for her work with the “Kid’s in Court” program.

Ms. Johnson is admitted to the State Bar of California. She is a member of the San Diego County Bar Association and the San Diego Family Law Bar Association.

icon_contactmam@smithscatizzi.com / Direct: 619-344-0430