Christopher Ortega: 2016 Best and Brightest

Christopher Ortega

Christopher Ortega

University of Minnesota Law School

Hometown: Fountain Valley, California

Undergraduate School: Vanguard University

Undergraduate Major and Minor: History/Political-Science and Religion

 

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During Law School:

  • Law Council – President
  • Latino Law Student Association – President
  • Saint Thomas More Society – Vice-President
  • Dean’s Scholarship – Recipient
  • Dean’s List – Recipient
  • Zelle Hofmann Diversity in Law Scholarship – Recipient
  • Robina Public Interest Scholar – Recipient
  • ABA Journal of Labor and Employment Law – Managing Editor
  • Street Law – Instructor
  • HomeLine – Volunteer
  • LexisNexis – Student Representative

Where have you interned during law school?

  • Education Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
  • Professor Stephen F. Befort, University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, MN
  • The Honorable Jeannice M. Reding, Fourth Judicial District Court, Minneapolis, MN
  • Central Minnesota Legal Services, Minneapolis, MN

What practice area will you be specializing in after graduation? Labor and Employment Law

Why did you choose to attend law school? Because few people with my background have this opportunity, and I was not going to let the chance to have a more significant impact on my community pass me by.

What was your favorite law school class (and why)? My favorite law school class was Legislative Process because each student got the chance to follow a bill in the state legislature from start to finish. The course included weekly visits to the Minnesota State Capitol in which we met state officials involved in the legislative process. The class was of particular interest to me because I am open to the idea of serving my community in a representative capacity.

Which attorney do you most admire? Antonin Scalia because of the impact he has had on the American legal system, particularly his adherence to the judicial philosophy of originalism.

What have you enjoyed most about law school? The intellectual stimulation and challenges of law school have given me a solid foundation to be a great lawyer.

What word best describes your professional brand? Resilient. Notwithstanding personal and professional setbacks I have always managed to pull myself up by my bootstraps and try again.

If you were debt free, how would you spend your first paycheck after landing your first law job? Pay my parents back for the support they have so faithfully provided despite their limited financial resources.

“I knew I wanted to go to law school when…my at-risk high school students (and their parents) asked me questions about the law that I could not answer and I desired to advise them of their legal rights.”

“If I didn’t go to law school, I would be…”a teacher or school administrator.”

Which academic or personal achievement are you most proud of? Admission to a top-20 law school, notwithstanding my personal detractors who said it would not be possible.

Fun fact about yourself: My wife and I just had a baby boy—his name is Philip.

Favorite book: 1984

Favorite movie: Braveheart

What are your hobbies? Reading, traveling, church/church activities, and hiking.

What made Christopher such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2016?

“I have had the pleasure of working with Chris Ortega as a student in Employment Law, as a staff member and editor of the ABA Journal of Labor and Employment Law, and as my research assistant. I really enjoy working with Chris because he is talented, reliable, hard-working, and personable. Chris’ selection as Law Council President demonstrates the admiration and confidence in his abilities by his peers. He certainly is one of the Law School’s best and brightest.”

Stephen F. Befort
Gray, Plant, Mooty, Mooty, & Bennett Professor of Law
University of Minnesota Law School