By Lisa Rodgers on June 8, 2021
Not many lawyers have poetry written about them. But WookSun (Phil) Hong isn’t your typical lawyer.
As a San Francisco attorney specializing in real estate and housing law, WookSun works in a fast, competitive, and often cut-throat industry. But the second-generation lawyer takes a different approach. Instead of representing real estate moguls and giant corporations, which could result in a hefty paycheck, WookSun stands up for the little guy: tenants, the mom, and pop landlords, and small business owners who might not be able to afford an attorney otherwise.
“There are certain areas of law that no one will touch because there is no money in it, and I handle those,” WookSun said. “I don’t have a lot of financial pressure, so I can take cases based on the person and whether I like and trust them, rather than how much money I can make.”
WookSun is the principal attorney at the Law Offices of WookSun Hong and a member of the Bay Area Legal Incubator. He first realized he wanted to specialize in housing/real estate law while volunteering at a housing nonprofit during law school and witnessing how many Bay Area residents were being impacted by housing issues. He also realized that small, independent landlords were being both misrepresented and underrepresented.
“Some [tenants’ rights organizations] have this black and white mentality—if you’re a tenant you’re a victim and if you’re a landlord, you’re greedy and evil,” WookSun said. “I didn’t like that idea because I know there are certain landlords victimized by horrible tenants and those landlords have no representation.”
WookSun said that many small landlords were hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic and are unable to afford legal fees. In response, WookSun said he has been charging on a sliding scale and offering discounts to those in difficult financial situations who may have trouble paying his typical rate.
Perhaps it is this generosity and community-oriented approach that earned him an award for outstanding service as a barrister and prompted one of his first clients to stay in touch with him for years and write him a poem to express her gratitude.
For WookSun, practicing law is about helping others, being his own person, and staying in integrity with his values. “You have to be someone you can be comfortable with,” he said.
WookSun lives with his partner in San Francisco, where he loves to ride his bike and dabble with oil painting. In his free time, he volunteers for the Community Legal Assistance Program and the Property Transfer Clinic.
His advice for hiring an attorney is to find someone who not only has experience in the specific area of law related to your case but who is also a good match in terms of personality.
If you are looking for a housing and real estate lawyer in the Oakland, Alameda County, or San Francisco areas, WookSun Hong at the Law Offices of WookSun Hong should be your top choice. He offers sliding scale fees and discounts on a case-by-case basis. Call WookSun at 510-368-8538 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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