John S. Rhee

Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing Lawyers


Oahu (Honolulu) 1001 Bishop Street, Suite 1800
Honolulu, HI 96813

About John

John Rhee is a problem solver who helps companies and employers win disputes or effectively resolve them. He handles all aspects of litigation, from discovery to mapping trial strategy, as well as appellate practice. His clients have ranged from Fortune 500 companies to low-income residents of housing projects and his experience covers a number of industries, including real estate, healthcare, finance and telecommunications.

Prior to AHFI, John worked in litigation practices in law firms on the mainland — first with Hale and Dorr (now known as WilmerHale), and then with Hinshaw & Culberston. He obtained a B.A. in history from Yale College, and a J.D. from Columbia Law School, and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Kevin Nathaniel Fox in the Southern District of New York immediately after law school.

Practice Areas

Additional Information

Recent Representative Matters
  • Represented class of residents at Mayor Wright Homes for breach of lease and warranty of habitability arising from lack of hot water, deferred maintenance, and unlivable conditions. Case resulted in landmark settlement that led to much-needed improvements.
  • Represented major airline against claims of employment discrimination.
  • Represented luxury brand retailer against claims of discrimination based on sexual orientation and national origin.
  • Successfully defended on appeal a State of Hawai`i agency’s decision to grant a Certificate of Need to client to provide much needed renal dialysis services on Maui, where opposing party held a monopoly.
  • Represented defendant in a class action on behalf of hotel beverage and service workers who claimed that defendant unlawfully withheld wages by failing to disclose its distribution policies concerning banquet service tips to customers.
  • Represented a class of public school teachers whose health benefits were threatened and impaired by actions by the state defendants, including the forced transfer of their health benefits funding from their employee benefits trust fund to a less financially sound fund, a violation of the Hawai`i Constitution’s “non-impairment” clause.
  • Represent a class of retired public employees and dependents denied their health benefits by the Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund (EUTF), in violation of Hawai`i Constitution.
  • Represented a class of low-income housing tenants overcharged as a result of insufficient utility allowance credits that are required under HUD regulations.
Commercial Litigation
  • Business torts
  • Contract disputes
Securities Litigation
  • FINRA investigations
  • Defense of shareholder suits
Admitted to Practice
  • Hawai`i
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii
  • Illinois (inactive)
  • New York (inactive)
  • Massachusetts (inactive)
  • Hawaii State Bar Association
  • New York State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association
  • President, Korean American Bar Association of Hawai`i
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
Awards and Recognition
  • 2015 Hawai`i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice “Voice of the People” Award for representing low-income residents.
  • 2015 Hawai`i Access to Justice Commission’s Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award
  • Pacific Business News Forty Under 40 Class of 2013 
  • Co-author, “Anticompetitive Conduct: Price Fixing and Enforcement of the Antitrust Laws in the Dairy Industry,” Bloomberg Law Reports, Antitrust and Trade, Volume 4, No. 4, February 21, 2011, with Alan I. Greene.
  • Co-author, “Franchise Disputes,” Chapter 15 in Business Torts in Massachusetts, ed. Laurence H. Reece III (Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc., 2002), with George W. Mykulak.
  • Columbia Law School (J.D.)
    • Journal of Law and Social Problems. Published Note: “Bilingual Education and Models of Citizenship.”
    • Participant, Political Asylum Workshop
    • Participant, Moot Court
  • Yale College (B.A.)
    • Recipient of a Mellon Fund Grant to conduct thesis research: U.S. Armed Forces in Korea, 1945-48: Post-war Administrative Struggles Amidst a Nascent Cold War.
Past Positions
  • Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP
    • Partner (2010-2011)
    • Associate (2008-2010)
  • WilmerHale LLP
    • Counsel (2007-2011)
    • Special Assistant District Attorney, Middlesex County, MA, Somerville District Court (2006; firm-sponsored 6-month rotation as criminal prosecutor)
    • Associate (2001-2006)
  • The Honorable Kevin N. Fox, U.S. District Court, S.D.N.Y.
    • Clerk (2000-2001)