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Choi named nation's first Korean-American county attorney

John Choi

Congratulations to Hamline Law alum John Choi, JD '95, who was recently sworn in as Ramsey County Attorney, becoming the first Asian-American county attorney in Minnesota. Choi is the first Korean-American to hold a county attorney's post in the nation.

Before entering Hamline Law, Choi earned his bachelor’s degree from Marquette University. In addition, Choi was a Humphrey Fellow at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Prior to being sworn in as Ramsey County Attorney on January 3, 2011, he was an attorney with McGrann, Shea, Carnival, Straughn and Lamb.

Choi served as the Saint Paul City Attorney from 2006-2010, where he led a public law agency and prosecution office of 70 employees with an $8 million budget. Among his many accomplishments as city attorney, Choi prudently managed the city’s tort liability budget, resulting in record lows for payouts and judgments in 2007, 2008 and 2009. In addition, he initiated a data-driven approach to manage resources and evaluate outcomes in his office and developed a strong working relationship with his employees.

During his tenure as the Saint Paul City Attorney, Choi was the 2009 recipient of the Joseph Mulligan Award, which is given to the top city attorney in North America for public leadership. He was also the 2009 recipient of the Saint Paul Jaycees' Warren B. Hart Award for Public Leadership and the Dispute Resolution Center's Kay Pranis Award for Leadership in Restorative Justice.

Prior to his appointment as city attorney, Choi was a partner at Kennedy & Graven, a law firm specializing in local government law. In private practice, Choi focused on government relations, administrative law, municipal law and civil litigation, rising to the level of partner within six years of graduating from law school. He also served on the firm's executive committee. Designated a “Super Lawyer” by Minnesota Law and Politics, Choi serves on the board of the Ramsey County Bar Association.

In his spare time, Choi serves our community as a volunteer board member of several Saint Paul non-profits, including Sounds of Hope and Saint Paul Youth Services. Choi is also an active member with Saint Paul Rotary Club Number 10. Choi enjoys cooking, reading the newspaper cover-to-cover, following the Minnesota Twins, and spending time with his family.