On Friday, January 5, 2024, the California Supreme Court issued a decision regarding the disciplinary case of attorney Howard Jong-Yol Choi, suspending him from practicing law for one year with execution stayed and placing him on probation for one year subject to certain conditions.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Howard Jong-Yol Choi,” with case n0. S281279.

According to the stipulation filed in the State Bar Court on July 5, 2023, Choi has been admitted to practice law in California since 2012. The stipulation involved two disciplinary matters against Choi filed with the Office of Chief Trial Counsel (OCTC) of the State Bar.

The stipulation stated that in case number 21-0-15044, Choi failed to perform legal services competently for a client and failed to communicate with them. He did not diligently work on the client’s case or keep them informed of important developments. Choi also failed to return unearned fees to the client, demonstrating indifference to his misconduct.

In the second case, numbered 22-0-13497, Choi again failed to competently represent a client and failed to communicate with them. The stipulation alleged he neglected the client’s legal matter and did not communicate status updates. Choi once more did not refund unearned fees after failing to perform the necessary work.

The stipulation concluded Choi’s actions involved moral turpitude, dishonesty, and corruption. It found he intentionally violated his duties to competently represent clients and communicate with them, causing significant harm. Although Choi had no prior discipline, the stipulation recognized aggravating factors including intentional misconduct committed with indifference.

In light of these rule violations and misconduct, the State Bar Court approved a disciplinary stipulation recommending Choi be suspended for one year with 60 days actually served and probation imposed with various terms. The California Supreme Court subsequently adopted this discipline through its January 2024 order.

With this ruling, the Supreme Court formally disciplined Choi for his egregious mishandling of two client matters. His failure to diligently work on their cases, keep them informed, and refund their money despite lacking competency caused substantial harm. Choi must now comply with probation to demonstrate rehabilitation before fully practicing law again.

The Disposition states:

“The court orders that Howard Jong-Yol Choi (Respondent), State Bar Number 284364, is suspended from the practice of law in California for one year, execution of that period of suspension is stayed, and Respondent is placed on probation for one year subject to the following conditions: Respondent is suspended from the practice of law for the first 60 days of probation.”

According to avvo.com, Mr. Choi is a general practice attorney in Buena Park, California. He acquired his law license in California in 2012. 

A copy of the original filing can be found here.