On Tuesday, September 12, 2023, the Florida Bar filed a formal complaint for reciprocal discipline against attorney Hee Bum Michael Kim, a member of the Florida Bar, for alleged violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The complaint stems from Kim’s failure to cooperate with two Law Society investigations into his conduct, resulting in an indefinite suspension.
The case is entitled “The Florida Bar v. Hee Bum Michael Kim.”
On October 14, 2021, the Law Society Tribunal, Hearing Division issued a decision in the matter of Law Society of Ontario v. Kim. The Tribunal found that Hee Bum Kim, a lawyer licensed by the Law Society of Ontario, had failed to cooperate with two investigations by the Law Society’s Investigation Services department. The investigations were authorized in March 2021 and requests for information and documents were sent to Mr. Kim on several occasions, but he failed to respond. The Tribunal found that Mr. Kim’s failure to cooperate was a violation of Rule 7.1-1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct and ordered a one-month definite suspension of his license, followed by an indefinite suspension pending compliance with the investigative requests. The Tribunal also imposed a fine of $2,000 and ordered Mr. Kim to pay costs of $2,053.50.
In its decision, the Tribunal noted that the Law Society’s investigations were designed to ensure a complete response and no inordinate delays in investigations by the self-regulated authority. The Tribunal found that Mr. Kim had not acted responsibly or in good faith to respond promptly and completely to the Law Society’s inquiries. The Tribunal relied on previous decisions, such as Law Society of Ontario v. Diamond, 2021 ONCA 255, which held that a licensee’s good faith efforts to cooperate with the Law Society are essential to moving investigations forward and that a licensee’s uninformed ignorance of their record-keeping obligations cannot constitute a “good faith explanation” of the basis for the delay.
The Tribunal also noted that Mr. Kim did not attend the hearing and that the hearing proceeded in his absence. The evidence at the hearing consisted of an affidavit from the investigator, which included information about Mr. Kim’s failure to respond to the investigative requests. The Tribunal found that Mr. Kim had not provided any answers to the investigative requests and accordingly found that he had failed to act responsibly.
Following this event, the Florida Bar has filed a formal complaint against Kim. The Florida Bar is seeking reciprocal discipline against Kim, as the conduct violates the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. The matter is pending before a referee, and the Florida Bar is requesting that Kim be appropriately disciplined in accordance with the provisions of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar.
According to The Florida Bar, Mr. Kim attended the Florida Coastal School of Law. He acquired his law license in Florida in 2014.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.