It is finally official for Hamline School of Law alumnus Tim Purdon ’94 who was sworn in as the U. S Attorney for North Dakota on August 24, 2010. It has been a long journey from the application, the nomination by President Obama, the confirmation by the U.S. Senate, and finally the swearing-in ceremony, but the road to this new office started, in part, at Hamline.
“You can’t go to law school at Hamline without graduating with a sense that the law is a vehicle to help people,” Purdon said. “Working at the U.S. Attorney’s Office will give me the ability to take public service to a broader level—a higher level.”
Among the issues he will likely be tackling on behalf of the United States government in North Dakota, Purdon sites the state’s 300 mile international border with Canada and large Native American population. Even now those old class lecture notes from Hamline may come in handy.
“To this day, when I’m reading rules or thinking about areas of the law, I will sometimes go pull out my law school outline and use it as a starting place for my thought process,” said Purdon. “That’s a testament to the quality of the faculty at Hamline School of Law. I had phenomenal, phenomenal law professors.”
Purdon knew he wanted to be a lawyer when he graduated from high school. He went on to get a bachelor’s degree in English before coming to Hamline in 1991. He has spent the past sixteen years in private practice. Now, Purdon will be responsible for representing the federal government in nearly all litigation involving the United States in North Dakota.
With all that experience already under his belt, what is his advice to current law students and young attorneys?
“As a lawyer, your most important asset is your reputation. Your reputation with other lawyers, and your reputation with judges,” Purdon said. “It takes a long time to build a good reputation but it takes one phone call to ruin it, so when dealing with other lawyers, it is so important to be collegial and to be reasonable.”
Thinking back on the choices he has made throughout his career, Purdon says that he feels coming to Hamline was a one of his best decisions.
“It really had a huge impact on me personally, a good impact on my career, and I’m very thankful that I was wise enough at that point in my life to make that choice.”