John Christiansen’s assignment to be announced later

John Christiansen is both flattered and honored at having been accepted into the U.S. Department of Justice Attorney General’s Honors Program.
Christiansen, a third year student at the University of Tulsa College of Law, has not yet been assigned to his work area.
He will join the DOJ following graduation from the University of Tulsa College of Law in May 2010 and passes the Oklahoma Bar Exam.
Christiansen, now working in Salt Lake City for the Utah attorney general, will complete his last two semesters of academic work as a visiting student from the University of Utah.
Justice Department work will not be a new experience.
Christiansen earlier had worked for the DOJ during his first year as a law student in the Eastern District of Oklahoma at Muskogee.
‘‘I worked for Federal District Attorney Sheldon Spurling and was introduced to the criminal justice division field,’’ he said. ‘‘I was able to do research on five or six different issues. I learned about federal codes and was allowed to go to court proceedings as part of the work.
‘‘I started out in criminal law, but I also helped Susan Brandon, chief of he civil division,’’ he said. During the slightly over three months I was with the office, I worked on a variety of issues.’’
Christiansen was familiar with court activity, having worked with a Muskogee attorney where he thought he had seen the gamut of an attorney’s work.
But he had no idea what was going on in the federal system and the work certainly was different that presented on television news reports.
At first, the work in the Eastern District was a little intimidating, he said.
But there was another side that helped where he had needed skills.
Christiansen had experience with digital courtrooms and helped the Eastern District expand its programs.
He also feels that experience with digital equipment might have helped him get the DOJ internship.
In his previous life — before law school — Christiansen worked with companies that made law-related presentations and graphics for small firms that could be used in court.
It was an important skill-set, but at the time did not realize its importance and how it would apply to a future career.
‘‘I have done some contract work for attorneys as they switched to digital technology since I have been in law school,’’ he said. ‘‘I was 27 years-old when I started law school. I had done web design, worked for a toy company as a graphic designer and had my own business on the side.
‘‘I had been doing digital legal solution work for small law firms eight years ago and now that technology is catching on.’’
Those business experiences with small companies drew Christiansen to law school because he felt he had ‘‘learned the ropes’’ and wanted to be his own boss rather than working for the other guy.
Christianson selected the University of Tulsa College of Law, coming to the city from his native Salt Lake.
He responded to an invitation to attend TU and was impressed with the orientation and personal attention he received from students leading the tours.
The deal clincher was the Mabee Legal Information Center law library that is ranked among the best in the nation and that the faculty really cared about students.

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