Washington, D.C. –
In September, Capt. John Han – a seasoned and decorated member of the Navy Reserve Law Program (NRLP) – was awarded the Military and Veteran Service Award from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA). The award will be presented to Han at the 2021 NAPABA Convention in December in Washington, D.C.
The NAPABA Military and Veteran Service Award recognizes Asian Pacific American (APA) legal practitioners who serve the U.S. military in various capacities. Awardees exhibit integrity, competency, and a commitment to serving others, the APA community, and their country, and their character and commitment reflect the highest standards of the armed forces.
“I am truly honored and humbled to be selected for this prestigious award,” said Han.
As a Reserve judge advocate, Han currently serves as commanding officer of Navy Reserve Region Legal Service Office Naval District Washington. The unit provides trial and command services to commands in the Washington, D.C. area, as well as legal assistance to local military members and their families.
As a civilian attorney, Han recently founded Han Law, LLC. Han Law, LLC represents clients facing investigation and prosecution for state, federal, and military criminal offenses. Prior to the establishment of his law firm, Han was a federal prosecutor for the Department of Justice.
“Han is a gifted attorney and has been an exceptional role model, leader, and mentor during his 28 years of Reserve and active-duty service in the U.S. Navy JAG Corps, and his 21 years of service as a civilian prosecutor at both the federal and state levels,” read the NAPABA announcement about Han’s award.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, on Aug. 20, 1968, Han immigrated to the U.S. with his parents and younger sister at the age of six in 1974. He grew up in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, attending high school at Moses Brown School in Providence, R.I. He graduated with class honors from the University of Michigan with a bachelor of arts degree in Economics in 1990. He then attended the American University, Washington College of Law, earning his juris doctor degree in 1993. (Learn more about Han’s background and experiences in a new video, “Profile in Diversity.”
Han received his commission as an officer in the Navy JAG Corps in April 1993. For the next six years – until his release from active duty in 1999 – Han completed tours at Naval Legal Service Office West in San Francisco, Calif.; Naval Legal Service and Trial Service Offices, Europe and Southwest Asia in Naples, Italy; and Naval Air Warfare Center, Aircraft Division, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. While stationed at Patuxent River, Han also prosecuted cases in federal court as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland.
Beginning in 2000, in his civilian capacity, Han worked as the assistant district attorney for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. In 2006, he left that post to serve as a trial attorney for the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Gang Section. For 15 years, he investigated and prosecuted federal cases related to the Racketeer Influences and Corrupt Organizations Act.
After leaving active duty, Han continued serving the Navy as a member of the NRLP. After affiliating with the Navy Reserves in 1999, he provided crucial support to the General Litigation Division at the Office of Judge Advocate General (OJAG) in Washington, D.C.; Naval Legal Service Office, Europe and Southwest Asia in Naples, Italy; Navy Reserve Region Legal Service Office Mid-Atlantic in Norfolk, Va.; Navy Reserve Legal Service Office 104; and OJAG’s National Security Law Division, the Navy Reserve Civil Litigation Division, the Navy Reserve Navy-Marine Corps Appellate Review Activity, and the Navy Reserve Preliminary Hearing Unit, all of which are located in Washington, D.C. He also completed an operational tour in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Noble Eagle.
In June 2010, Han was appointed by the JAG to serve a four-year term as a military trial judge for the Navy-Marine Corps Trial Judiciary. As one of the first APA military trial judges in the Navy, he presided over 31 federal criminal trials, including seven contested jury trials.
“I would strongly encourage APA law students and attorneys to consider pursuing a public service career in the military,” said Han. “A military career is an opportunity to be part of something greater than yourself in an exciting and challenging environment where one can develop valuable skills in leadership and teamwork. It also is an opportunity to serve in an organization that fosters camaraderie and close personal bonds among its members.”
Han is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and New York. He also is admitted to practice in the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. He credits the support of his wife and three children – as well as his extended family and professional mentors – for his successful civilian and military legal careers.