On Wednesday, September 13, 2023, the Supreme Court of New Jersey censured attorney Tony Chung-Min Hom for violating various rules of professional conduct.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Tony Chung-Min Hom,” with case no. 088212.
The charges cited New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1(a), 1.3, 1.4(b), 1.4(c), 5.3(a)(b), 5.5(a)(2), and 8.4(d) which states:
Engaging in gross neglect.
Failing to keep a client reasonably informed and failing to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information.
Failing to explain a matter such that a client can make an informed decision.
Failing to supervise nonlawyer staff.
Engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.
Engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.
The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.
The investigation against Hom focused on a series of trademark applications that he filed with a particular emphasis on the handling of client matters. It was determined that Hom had neglected to adequately review countless trademark applications prepared by non-lawyers, leading to potential breaches of governing trademark laws and regulations. Additionally, non-lawyers were granted authorization to affix Hom’s electronic signature to trademark documents, a breach of the protocol outlined by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Furthermore, Hom had failed to keep clients informed about the status and potential consequences of their trademark submissions, infringing upon their right to make informed decisions. The committee also identified a lack of diligence and oversight concerning non-lawyer intermediaries, who were integral in facilitating communications with clients and preparing the necessary paperwork.
Among the notable violations were Hom’s involvement with foreign-domiciled non-lawyers in the unauthorized practice of law.
In response to the findings, the committee recommended a censure for Hom. While noting his extensive, unblemished career in the legal profession, the committee emphasized the gravity of the misconduct and the potential harm to clients.
After reviewing the information provided, the Supreme Court concurred with the committee’s suggestion and formally censured Hom.
The Disposition states:
“It is ORDERED that Tony Chung-Min Horn is hereby censured, and it is further ORDERED that the entire record of this matter be made a permanent part of respondent’s file as an attorney at law of this State.”
According to avvo.com, Mr. Hom is an attorney in New York, New York. He acquired his law license in New Jersey in 1997.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.