Partner Spotlight: Jina Choi

Jina Choi is a partner in MoFo’s San Francisco office and is a member of the Securities Litigation, Enforcement, and White-Collar Defense Group. With her one-of-a-kind skillset, Jina represents public and pre-IPO companies, financial institutions, asset management firms, boards of directors, audit and special committees and individuals in internal investigations, SEC and other government investigations, enforcement-related litigation as well as compliance-related issues. Jina joined the firm after over 16 years with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, where she ultimately served as Director of the SEC’s San Francisco Regional office, helping to enforce many of the laws that govern the public and pre-IPO companies she now represents.

In two to three sentences, describe your practice.

I represent public and pre-IPO companies, financial institutions, asset management firms, boards of directors, audit and special committees and individuals in internal investigations, SEC and other government investigations, enforcement-related litigation, as well as compliance-related issues.  I have experience in investigations involving accounting and disclosure fraud, insider trading, investment adviser and broker dealer fraud, offering fraud, auditor misconduct, FCPA, and market structure issues.

Why did you choose to make MoFo your professional home?

MoFo’s national reputation in securities litigation and enforcement, and its stellar client base, were big draws.  But on a more personal level, I observed many attorneys and their styles of practice in my years of public service and was always impressed by the attorneys from MoFo I encountered.  Also, several members of the SEC staff came from (or returned to) MoFo, so I knew first-hand that MoFo’s reputation for excellence and integrity, as well as for being fierce and strategic advocates when representing clients, was well deserved.

I was also attracted to MoFo’s unique position in the legal and broader community in the Bay Area and beyond.  The firm has always been able to attract top talent.  There are so many judges, CLOs, general counsel, prosecutors, public servants and public interest attorneys – real leaders of the community – who developed their professional skills and honed their legal chops here at MoFo.  And while the firm has a deep sense of tradition, culture and community, it is also forward-looking, innovative and strategic, which was important to me, given the client base and legal market that exists today.

Diversity and inclusion are deeply ingrained in the culture of the firm.  I remember when I was in law school on the East Coast, many talented law students wanted to come out west.  Even back then, MoFo was the San Francisco law firm that had a national reputation for embracing diversity and promoting women and attorneys of color.  I think it has only built on that reputation, as it has become a global law firm that is still a leader when it comes to diversity and attracting top-notch lawyers from all different backgrounds, faiths, cultures and ethnicities.

 How do clients benefit from having diverse teams of lawyers working for them?

The best way to practice law is as a team sport.  And when representing clients in complex investigations, it is particularly important to have a diverse team.  A mistake that leaders can make is to surround themselves with people who are just like them.  It can feel so much easier when everyone agrees and there is little conflict, but that feeling may be deceptive and give a false sense of security.  The best teams are made up of people who might think a little differently, come from different backgrounds and with varied experiences, who can see things from a range of perspectives.  In the context of a complex investigation or controversy, a diverse team is more than just a sum of its parts.  It’s the team that will be able to appropriately assess risk, find holes in arguments and come up with creative solutions.  A diverse team will leverage its skills and resources and, ultimately, gets the best results.