John Choi immigrated to St. Paul at the age of three with his parents from South Korea. His family started their American experience in low income housing in Saint Paul. John graduated from St. Thomas Academy High School, Marquette University and Hamline University School of Law, and was a Humphrey Fellow at the University of Minnesota.
Following law school, John was in private practice first at Hessian, McKasy, & Soderberg, and then at Kennedy & Graven, where he focused on government relations, administrative law, municipal law and civil litigation, rising to the level of partner within six years.
John went on to become the Saint Paul City Attorney, leading a public law and prosecution office of 70 employees with an $8 million budget. Throughout his tenure, John was innovative in making reforms and finding efficiencies in the criminal justice system. Some of his accomplishments include: working with police and the Legislature to develop a new tool to prevent gang violence; forming a working group of 20 cities across the nation to hold lenders accountable in the mortgage foreclosure crisis; and working with police to create new protocols to obtain convictions and better serve victims of domestic abuse. In addition, John created innovative diversion and restorative justice programs in the areas of bad check prosecutions, invalid license cases and obstructing legal process arrests.
Because of these accomplishments, John's colleagues from across the country recognized his innovative leadership in awarding him as the International Municipal Lawyers Association's Top City Attorney in the United States and Canada in 2009.
John was pleased to have the opportunity to join the firm of McGrann, Shea, Carnival, Straughn & Lamb before becoming elected Ramsey County Attorney in the fall of 2010.
As Ramsey County Attorney, John is already working hard to continue to reform the criminal justice system and keep our community safe. He believes we must do everything we can to prevent crime from happening, effectively intervene in the lives of kids who get into trouble, and find innovative ways to prevent criminals from reoffending - all the while working to do all we can to keep victims safe.
In his spare time, John serves the community as a volunteer board member of several Saint Paul nonprofits, including Sounds of Hope and St. Paul Youth Services. He also serves on the board of the Ramsey County Bar Association and is member of the Saint Paul Rotary Club.