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Knut Sveinbjorn Johnson

Federal crime Attorney at San Diego, CA

4.5   8 reviews
  • State Years
    New York - NY 1 year
    New Mexico - NM 32 years
    California - CA 37 years
  • Licensed for 1 year
    State NY
    Acquired 2023
    Currently Registered No misconduct found
  • Licensed for 32 years
    State NM
    Acquired 1991
    Active No misconduct found
  • Licensed for 37 years
    State CA
    Acquired 1986
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Knut

Learn Knut’s areas of practice.


I am a career defense attorney, who has always loved fighting against the government.  From my time at Federal Defenders, through my experience in big firm life, to now I continue to hone my skills to improve outcomes for clients. Getting the best possible outcome is my priority.

When I am not fighting for clients, I am playing tennis, exercising, and spending time with my family.


Knut S. Johnson
655 West Broadway, Suite 900
San Diego, CA, 92101


4.5 / 5.0
  8 customer reviews
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Posted by Eddie | July 3, 2024
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Outstanding Lawyer
I worked with Knut in my early years as a lawyer, and he is as good of a lawyer as you can find. Knut's skill and dedication to achieving justice have made him widely respected by his peers and clients. I have the highest level of respect for Knut and recommend him without hesitation. He is an excellent attorney.
Posted by Jason | July 16, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Attorney that serves his clients and advocates for them with excellent knowledge of the law.
Knut Johnson was able to study the entire white collar case, and provide logical steps to advocate for positive outcome. Knut served me with a high level of integrity and is someone I would highly recommend to support any future clients.
Posted by Isaac | July 15, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Mr Johnson
Back in 2020 I was framed with some drugs in my spare tire in Tijuana, when I try to cross the border I got arrested, it was overwhelming to me, I didn't have any money for attorney at law services, the court assigned this attorney , it was a long walk but everything came out more then I expected. I Was able to fight my case from outside, once Mr. Johnson actually believed in me everything was down the hill Thanks to his commitment and experience we were able to come forward, with the expected result, after 14 months the DA dismissed the charges and I was able to go back home. Thanks again Mr Johnson for saving my life, my gratitude is eternal JOHNSON C
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Posted by James | May 21, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Knut Johnson represented me after the 9th Circuit fired my first attorney. He found a flaw in my plea agreement, the 9th Circuit Court agreed, I got a new sentencing and was released time served. In my eyes, Knut Johnson is a miracle worker.
Posted by anonymous | March 13, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
White Collar
Knut represented me a few years back and did an exceptional job. Needless to say he guided me thru some tuff hurdles. He helped me and saved me from going to federal prison and moved my case from another state to San Diego saving me thousands in travel expenses I could not have afforded. Knut did this with finesse and in the end he did an astounding job for me. I would recommend to anyone if they were in my situation.
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Posted by Gary | July 18, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Outstanding Criminal Defense
I highly recommend Knut Johnson to anyone in need of excellent legal representation. He is incredibly knowledgeable about all aspects of Federal Law. Knut, and his colleague Emerson, worked tirelessly on my defense during a very difficult and stressful time. He was always upbeat, honest, and respectful to me What really stands out is how he defended me so effectively during my court proceedings. For anyone needing an outstanding criminal defense attorney, there is no one more qualified than Knut Johnson.
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Posted by cynthia | July 18, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Really smart attorney at an excellent price
Knut knows everyone. More importantly, they know him. Just off the top of his head, he can give you an accurate idea of how your case will go. He is also very practical in high stress situations. I go to him first with any criminal issue.
Posted by Erik | March 12, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Very bad attorney
I hired Mr Johnson to defend me in a criminal case in San Diego. So many things he told me was not correct. He told me to sign a plea agreement and I would get to go home at sentencing with time served. He told me that I would not get deported, that was not correct. He told me that I would get to be present at my restitution hearing, that was not correct. He waived my rights to be present after I told him in writing not to do so. I expressly said in a letter sent to him via my business attorney that I wished to be present. he never cared and went ahead like I never existed. He never sent me any documentation or information about what transpired in the restitution hearing, nor did he ever contact me or care after I got sent to prison. He promised to help me with my treaty transfer. he sent one letter asking them to just expedite my transfer to Norway, this letter he did not even bother to sign. I paid Mr Johnson 75,000 for his services. I might as well have just used a public defender to achieve the same result. I never got the time served he promised over and over and over. I got 46 months. I would not recommend Mr Johnson. Not at all
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Contact for Details


AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Owner
  • Law Office of Knut S. Johnson
  • 1996 - Present
  • Associate Attorney
  • McKenna & Cuneo
  • 1994 - 1996
  • Senior Trial Attorney
  • Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc.
  • 1988 - 1994
  • Associate Attorney
  • Jenkins & Perry
  • 1986 - 1988
View all work experience


  • University of San Diego
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1986
  • Tulane University
  • BS - Bachelor of Science
  • 1980


  • Criminal Justice Act Advisory Committee, Southern District of California
  • Chair, Member
  • 2015 - Present
  • State Bar of California
  • Certified Specialist, Criminal Law
  • 2002 - Present
  • San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyers Club
  • Member
  • 1990 - Present
  • Practitioners Advisory Group to the United States Sentencing Commission
  • Ninth Circuit Representative; Vice Chair; Chair
  • 2015 - 2020
  • U.S. Court, S.D. California
  • Criminal Justice Act Representative
  • 2006 - 2016
  • San DIego Criminal Defense Bar Association
  • President
  • 2001 - 2002
  • U.S. Court, S.D. Cal.
  • Lawyer Representative to Ninth Circuit
  • 2001 - 2005
  • American Bar Association
  • Chair, Crim. Justice Section, Solo and Small Firms
  • 2000 - 2006
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

Honors and Awards

  • Unanimous “Well Qualified” rating (highest)
  • American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary
  • 2020
  • Fellow
  • American College of Trial Lawyers
  • 2020
  • Top 50 Attorneys
  • San Diego Super Lawyers
  • 2020
  • Distinguished Alumni Award
  • University of San Diego, School of Law
  • 2018
  • Lawyer of the Year, White Collar Criminal Defense
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • 2016
  • E. Stanley Conant Award
  • Defenders Organizations of San Diego
  • 2013
  • Top 10 Lawyers in San Diego
  • Super Lawyers
  • 2010
  • Top 50 Lawyers in San Diego
  • Super Lawyers
  • 2009
  • AV ranking
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2007
  • "Best Lawyers in San Diego"
  • San Diego Magazine
  • 2007
  • Super Lawyers
  • Southern California Super Lawyers
  • 2007
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • Best Lawyers in America
  • 2007
  • E. Stanley Conant Award
  • Defender Programs of San Diego
  • 2006
  • Certificate of Commendation
  • 2002
View all awards


  • Commentary, National Institute for Trial Advocacy Commentaries for USCS Materials
  • "Overview of Chapter 208, Speedy Trial"
  • 2004
  • Criminal Justice
  • "On Your Own: Solo and Small Firms Practice"
  • 2001
  • Defending a Federal Criminal Case
  • Federal Juvenile Crimes
  • 2001
  • The Champion magazine
  • "Responding to Subpoenas: Constitutional and Practical Issues"
  • 1997
  • Defending a Federal Criminal Case
  • Federal Firearms Offenses
  • 1994
  • The Champion magazine
  • "Juvenile Delinquents and Federal Law"
  • 1991
  • Defending a Federal Criminal Case
  • Federal Parole
  • 1988
View all publications

Speaking Engagements

  • Monthly Meeting
  • Ethics Update
  • 2019
  • Monthly Meeting
  • Ethical Obligations Related to Travel with Laptops, Tablets and Mobile Devices
  • 2018
  • Monthly Meeting
  • Science Fiction or Necessary Tools: Artificial Intelligence in eDiscovery and Legal Research
  • 2018
  • Distinguished Alumni Awards
  • Acceptance Speech
  • 2018
  • Federal Defenders Annual Seminar
  • CJA Cases
  • 2007
  • Discovery: You Can't Always Get What You Want
  • Electronic Discovery
  • 2007
  • Winning Strategies Seminar
  • Developing Themes and Theories
  • 2006
  • Advanced Trial Skills Workshop
  • Trial Skills
  • 2001
  • Gun Plants, Informants &Sex Photos: Justice in San Diego
  • Coping With Voluminous Discovery
  • 2000
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (9)
Given (15)
Endorse Knut
Criminal defense Attorney | Apr 11
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"I recommend Knut without reservation. He is a highly skilled attorney and a great guy. Any person charged with a crime would be lucky to have him."
Criminal defense Attorney | May 22
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse Knut. He is a highly skilled attorney that is well respected in the legal community."
Federal crime Attorney | May 22
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I have known Knut since I was in law school. His understanding and practice of criminal defense ranks among the best in town, without question. He is experienced, approachable, and extremely knowledgeable on the subject of criminal defense. These factors give a substantial advantage to any client he represents. If a family member or friend were facing a serious criminal charge, I would recommend Mr. Johnson without hesitation."
Criminal defense Attorney | Nov 29
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"This attorney works very hard for the client and keeps up with the law by attending legal seminars to assist them in this regard. I endorse this attorney."
Criminal defense Attorney | Sep 25
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Your resume speaks for itself and I consider you a valuable member of the attorney community. I would recommend you to anyone and everyone who needs your services. I whole heartedly endorse this lawyer!"
Unknown Attorney | Aug 21
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Knut is one of the best advocates I have observed. He is also one of the most respected lawyers by the United States District Court, in San Diego. He fights for his clients in the most professional manner."
Federal crime Attorney | Jan 31
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jul 01
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Knut is well known as a leader in the local defense bar. He works in both state and federal court, and he's not afraid of taking tough cases. He has the highest ethical standards, and Judges and prosecutors respect him and hold him in high regard."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jul 05
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"I endorse this lawyer's work. I know of no other lawyer with a higher reputation for integrity in the San Diego Community. Knut is smart and truly cares about his clients. He has volunteered many hours working as the liason between the U.S. District Court judges and CJA defense counsel to help insure that we are able to represent indigent defendants at the highest level. Knut is an outstanding person and an outstanding attorney."
View more endorsements
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Avvo Contributions

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San Diego Federal crime Lawyer Knut Sveinbjorn Johnson
Knut Sveinbjorn Johnson
Federal crime Attorney
San Diego, CA
Licensed for 37 years