Our Attorneys

The attorneys at Smaha Law Group bring a wide breadth of experience across multiple practice areas. From corporate business and real estate transactions to bankruptcy, estate planning and asset protection, we have the credentials and experience to help you to protect yourself, your family and your business.  Should you face a legal issue, we are experienced in resolving disputes for our clients, through mediation and arbitration or in court.  As proactive decision makers, problem solvers and negotiators, our attorneys will take the burden of the legal problem off your shoulders, recommending and implementing a course of action toward the successful resolution of your situation.

John Smaha, Principal of Smaha Law Group, APC: jsmaha@smaha.com

For over 40 years, John Smaha has been a business professional and California licensed attorney.  His extensive knowledge, experience, and business acumen uniquely position him to provide counseling and advice to enable individuals and families to secure and plan for their personal and business futures.  He has extensive experience litigating in both State and Federal court.  His experience reaches across industries, both domestically and internationally.  In 2014 and 2016, John was awarded the prestigious Best of the Bar 2016 by the San Diego Business Journal.

John’s areas of practice include:

  • Business financing, formation and structuring
  • Real property transactions
  • Asset protection
  • Bankruptcy reorganization
  • High net worth individuals with retirement, trust, litigation, tax and debt issues
  • Civil and business litigation in Federal and State courts

John’s Education and Experience:

  • Graduate, University of San Diego, Juris Doctor – 1980
  • BA Political Science, University of Redlands, 1977,  Minor in Sociology
  • Member, University of San Diego Law Review
  • Law Clerk San Diego Bankruptcy Court for the Honorable Judge Herbert Katz 1980-1982
  • Law Clerk 9th Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel 1980-1982

John’s Bar Admissions:

  • California (1980)
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • United States District Courts for the Northern, Central, Southern and Eastern Districts of California
  • U.S. Court of Claims

Gustavo Bravo: gbravo@smaha.com

With over fifteen years’ experience Gustavo E. Bravo has represented individuals and small to mid-size businesses in every stage of business development.  His knowledge and experience in corporate law and business litigation allow Gustavo to assist clients in all stages of a business’s lifespan, from its creation, through its successful operation and ultimately to its wrap up or succession. Gustavo is fully bilingual and bicultural which allows him to offer these services to the growing Latin/Hispanic residents, business owners and investors of Southern California.

Gustavo is an active member in the San Diego County Bar Association and the San Diego Bankruptcy Forum.  He has experience in litigating matters in both Federal and State Courts in California, having practiced before the Superior Court of California, the United States District Court and the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Central and Southern Districts of California.



Gustavo’s areas of practice include:

  • Bankruptcy, including corporate and individual reorganizations and bankruptcies
  • Civil litigation
  • Business entity formation, including for construction and real estate development projects
  • Business contracts and transactions, including closures and liquidations
  • Business disputes and litigation
  • Estate planning

Gustavo’s Education:

Gustavo graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law as a Dean’s Outstanding Scholar.  While at the University of San Diego, he interned with Jorge Vargas, who has been recognized as the most prolific writer on Mexican law in the United States.  Gustavo assisted Professor Vargas with various research projects and international books regarding U.S. and Mexican law.

Gustavo’s Bar Admissions:

  • California (2001)
  • United States District Courts for the Southern and Central Districts of California
  • United States Bankruptcy Courts for the Southern and Central Districts of California

John Paul Teague: jteague@smaha.com

John Paul has experience as both a litigator and transactional attorney, handling clients’ estate planning needs from initial consultation through probate and trust litigation.  This has included experience with complex and high value estates.  Aside from his law degree, in which he focused on international, corporate and tax law, John Paul has International Masters of Business Administration with an emphasis on finance.  John Paul has applied that knowledge and interests throughout his legal work, assisting individuals and businesses of all types with comprehensive estate planning, compliance, financing, mergers and acquisitions, insolvency and reorganization. John Paul also possesses extensive experience with litigation involving a wide variety of commercial disputes, and has litigated matters throughout California state and federal courts, and he has a breadth of experience in the negotiation of business transactions, contract drafting and dispute resolution.

John Paul was recognized in the Super Lawyers Magazine’s ‘The Annual List of the Top Attorneys in San Diego’.  John Paul was included on the 2015 San Diego Rising Stars list because of his exemplary work in business/corporate law as recognized by his peers. Only 2.5% of attorneys in the state are selected to receive this honor, which is carried out by a research team at Super Lawyers.

John Paul’s areas of practice include:

  • Estate Planning
  • General civil litigation
  • Corporate compliance
  • Business transactions
  • Bankruptcy
  • Reorganization

John Paul’s Education and Experience:

  • University of San Diego, Juris Doctor – 2007
    • Duquesne University School of Law (Beijing, China) – Chinese Law
    • Temple University School of Law (Tokyo, Japan) (Fall 2007)
  • IMBA, University of San Diego School of Business – 2007
  • B.A. cum laude, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio – 2004
    • Economics and Political Science, Minors in Japanese and Chinese
    • Member, Business Law Society
    • Treasurer, ATLA
    • National Mock Trial Competitor

John Paul’s Bar Admissions:

  • California (2007)
  • United States District Court for the Southern and Central Districts of California

Kristen Marquis Fritz: kfritz@smaha.com

Kristen Marquis Fritz is an experienced litigation attorney, handles Trust, Estate and Probate matters, prepares Estate Plans on behalf of her clients, counsels business clients and handles litigation, arbitration, and appeals.  Aside from being an attorney, Kristen is a California Licensed Professional Fiduciary (Lic. #1032) and a National Certified Guardian, and acts as Trustee, Executor, Administrator, Conservator and Guardian.  Kristen was selected to Super Lawyers’ Southern California Rising Star list in 2013, and their San Diego Rising Star list in 2015 and 2016. In 2018, Kristen was named one of the 10 Best Estate Planning Attorneys for California by the American Institute of Legal Counsel.  In addition to her active litigation practice and professional fiduciary work, Kristen supports several organizations dedicated to serving the public interest, improving access to justice, and ensuring that the rights of all persons are protected, including Lawyers Club of San Diego, where she has co-chaired the Bench Bar Committee, Think Dignity, where she sits on the Board of Directors, and Jewish Family Service of San Diego, where she volunteered to help Afghan refugees assimilate into life in the United States.



Kristen’s areas of practice include:

  • Estate Planning
  • Probate Matters
  • Conservatorship/Guardianship
  • Professional Fiduciary
  • Trust Litigation
  • Business-related litigation
  • Business counseling
  • Dispute resolution, including through arbitration and mediation
  • Appeals

Kristen’s Education and Experience:

  • Licensed Professional Fiduciary (CA Lic. # 1032)
  • California State University, Fullerton
    • Certificate in Fiduciary Management for Trustees
    • Certificate in Fiduciary Management for Conservators
  • Northeastern University School of Law – Juris Doctorate
  • Boston University – Bachelor of Arts (Psychology), summa cum laude; with honors
  • Boston University – Paralegal Certificate
  • Law Clerk, United Stated District Court, District of MA (Hon. Joseph Tauro)

Kristen’s Bar Admissions:

  • California (2009)
  • Massachusetts (2002)
  • New York (2008)
  • Texas (2008) (inactive)
  • Supreme Court of the United States (2008)
  • United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (2005) and the Ninth Circuit (2010)
  • United States District Courts for the Northern, Central, Southern and Eastern Districts of California and the District of Massachusetts