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Judge Christian Sande
Judge Christian Sande

Breaking the Ice: Public service, quicker decisions motivated bench bid

 Name: Christian Sande

Title: Judge, 4th Judicial District

Education: B.A., international relations, Hamline University; J.D., William Mitchell College of Law

Fourth Judicial District Judge Christian Sande says his longtime commitment to public service motivated him to apply for a judgeship. His interest in seeing cases reach timely conclusions did as well.

Sande often represented public clients and was a member of the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board. Sande was a member of the board, which oversees campaign spending and fundraising, from 2013 to 2016 and chaired it before his judicial appointment.

After practicing mostly in federal court, moving to the state courts interested Sande, who is based in Minneapolis.

“Our state court judges are able to get decisions done quickly and effectively,” Sande said. “In federal court that’s not able to happen because of the burdens and they don’t have statutory deadlines. It intrigued me to have a job where you can actually make a difference, giving people a positive experience even when it’s a difficult time.”

Q. What’s the best way to start a conversation with you?

A. Just start talking. I ran for office, I’ve been involved in public service forever. I had my own law firm for 10 years and prior to that had my own law practice. I can talk to anyone.

Q. What prompted you to study law and pursue it professionally?

A. I’d always had an interest in law more so than politics. If I were to say it more broadly I would say public affairs and public service. … My dad was an engineer at Lockheed. He never did get laid off but we spent most of the time I was a child worried about dad losing his job. So it interested me to go into a profession where I have some control over my career and a say on where I work and what I do.

Q. What books are on your bedside table or e-reader?

A. A book about World War I, “Six Weeks.” That was the average lifespan of a lieutenant in the British army. A book on domestic violence called “Domestic Violence at the Margins.”

Q. What is a pet peeve of yours?

A. Wasting time or talking around the subject. If there’s an elephant in the room just say so.

Q. What are your most favorite and least favorite aspects of being an attorney or judge?

A. I find the work very interesting and challenging and fun. The issue is to find a way to even in very challenging experiences with people who aren’t familiar with the system to make them feel like they’ve been heard, that they’re treated with respect and that they receive a very timely and efficient decision.

I’m not a morning person. Everyone likes to be here at 8, 8:30. When it was my own law practice I could schedule things so my day would start around 9 or 10.

Q. What’s a favorite activity outside your job?

A. Reading, cooking and spending an insane amount of time and effort on a white elephant of a huge house.

Q. Is there an attorney or judge, past or present, whom you admire most—and why?

A. Charley Nauen at the Lockridge firm, where I practiced for years — an extraordinary trial lawyer who is able to explain things really well. Similarly Vance Opperman, who also is an extraordinary lawyer. Vance has an amazing ability to encapsulate an idea or advice into something that most people can understand.

Q. Where do you like to eat lunch?

A. Unless I have a lunch meeting I prefer to eat lunch at my desk because as a judge you’re kind of on from 8:30 or 9 until noon and then 1:30 to 4:30. It’s nice to take that down time and work or read the news and just recharge.

Q. What, if any, is your favorite depiction of the law, the legal professional in popular culture?

A. When I was in college was when “L.A. Law” was a huge television show. When I was in college and law school was when Scott Turow’s books started to hit. “Presumed Innocent” and “The Burden of Proof” are great books.

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