Press Release January 21, 2021

U.S. Attorney Byung Jin Pak to Rejoin Alston & Bird as Litigation Partner in Atlanta

Alston & Bird announced today that U.S. Attorney Byung Jin “BJay” Pak will rejoin the firm as a partner in its Litigation & Trial Practice Group. A former litigation associate at Alston & Bird, where he began his career in private practice in 2000, Pak will return to the firm in February and be based in its Atlanta office.

“BJay is a gifted attorney, dedicated public servant, and a leader of considerable experience and skill,” said Alston & Bird Chairman and Managing Partner Richard Hays. “He brings additional stature and deepens our reputation as a leading choice for internal investigation counsel, white-collar defense, and other complex civil and criminal litigation. It is with great pride that we welcome BJay back to the firm.”

Pak was sworn in as the 25th presidentially appointed U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia in October 2017, becoming the country’s first Korean American U.S. Attorney confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He announced his resignation from the U.S. Department of Justice effective January 4, 2021. 

As the chief federal law enforcement officer for 46 counties in Northern Georgia with approximately 6.8 million people and over 200 law enforcement agencies, Pak oversaw all criminal and civil matters and supervised more than 100 assistant U.S. attorneys and over 140 professional support staff. Under his leadership, the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted significant cases related to insider trading, domestic and international corruption, financial fraud, cybersecurity, and the False Claims Act (FCA). 

Among Pak’s achievements as U.S. Attorney was investigating and obtaining an indictment charging members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army with computer fraud, economic espionage, and wire fraud for hacking into credit reporting agency Equifax. This cyber attack impacted nearly 150 million American, British, and Canadian citizens and was one of the largest cybercrimes ever committed. Also, as a part of a multidistrict investigation, his office secured a $103 million penalty against Avanir Pharmaceuticals and a $30 million payment from Signature Healthcare, a Kentucky skilled nursing facilities operator, to resolve FCA allegations.

During his time as U.S. Attorney, Pak served on several national committees. He was chair of the U.S. Attorney General’s Advisory Committee’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights; vice chair of the Committee on Management, People, and Performance; and a member of the White-Collar Fraud Working Group. He was also a member of the Corporate Enforcement and Accountability Working Group of the Taskforce on Market Integrity and Consumer Fraud, served on the Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice Technology Working Group, and led the committee that developed the standards for a National Decertification Index – a database to track incidents of excessive use of force by police officers.

“BJay is an extraordinary talent who has had a truly amazing career,” said Dan Diffley, Alston & Bird partner and co-chair of the firm’s Litigation & Trial Practice Group. “His impressive combination of government and law firm experience adds significant cachet to our litigation practice and further positions us as a top destination for general counsel, CEOs, and boards of directors in matters involving complex civil and criminal litigation, government investigations, and white-collar defense.”

Pak began his career in private practice at Alston & Bird in 2000, where he focused on complex litigation and government investigations. Two years later, he was named assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Georgia, prosecuting money laundering, intellectual property, and white-collar crimes. Pak served in that role until 2008, when he returned to private practice.

From 2011 until his retirement in 2017, Pak served in the Georgia General Assembly as a state representative. During his legislative tenure, he was a deputy majority whip, vice chair of the Judiciary Non-Civil Committee, chair of the Subcommittee on Crimes Against Person, Property, and Public Administration; and secretary of the Code Revision Committee. He also served by gubernatorial appointment as a member of the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform and Judicial Nominating Commission.

At the time of his nomination as U.S. Attorney, Pak was a founding partner at Chalmers Pak Burch & Adams, a boutique litigation and white-collar defense law firm in Atlanta.

Pak has been honored with numerous awards throughout his legal and public service career.  He has been consistently recognized as one of “100 Most Influential Georgians” by Georgia Trend Magazine; won the “Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award,” the highest award given by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association; and was named one of “13 Georgia Lawyers Under 40 to Watch” by the Daily Report. He was also named “Role Model of the Year 2013” by News & Post; honored with the “New American Hero Award” by the America Korea Friendship Society; and named “Prosecutor of the Year for 2018” by the Korean Prosecutors Association.

“We have grown an impressive bench of litigators in Atlanta and are fortunate to have the opportunity to add another former federal prosecutor to our growing ranks,” said Janine Brown, partner in charge of Alston & Bird’s Atlanta office. “BJay is well known to many of us and greatly respected and admired not only for his legal acumen but also his commitment to diversity and racial justice. He is a great fit for our firm and our clients.”

Pak earned his undergraduate degree from Stetson University and his J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law. Following law school, he clerked for the Hon. Richard Mills of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois. He is a Registered Certified Public Accountant in the State of Illinois.

Born in South Korea, Pak immigrated to the U.S. when he was 9 years old.

Pak is the most recent high-profile addition to Alston & Bird’s litigation practice. In November 2020, the firm announced the joining of former Georgia State Supreme Court Justice Keith Blackwell, and in August, it welcomed Jody Hunt, former U.S. Department of Justice assistant attorney general who led the department’s Civil Division.   
 
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Nicholas Clarke
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