Stephanie S. Christensen Appointed as United States Magistrate Judge for the Central District Of California

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The United States District Court for the Central District of California announces the appointment of Stephanie S. Christensen as a United States Magistrate Judge.  Judge Christensen, who was sworn in on July 5, 2023, will preside over matters in Los Angeles in the Court’s Western Division.  Judge Christensen succeeds former Magistrate Judge John E. McDermott.

Before her appointment as a magistrate judge, Judge Christensen served in multiple roles in her approximately 15 years at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.  As the Acting United States Attorney in 2022, she led an office of nearly 600 personnel and managed all federal government trial and appellate litigation in the Civil, Tax, National Security, and Criminal Divisions of the office.  Since 2018, she has served in executive leadership as First Assistant United States Attorney, Executive Assistant United States Attorney, and Special Counsel to the United States Attorney.  Judge Christensen oversaw and approved major settlements in a broad array of federal defensive and offensive litigation, including constitutional torts, medical malpractice, employment, tax, class action, qui tam, fraud, civil rights, social security, bankruptcy, criminal, and national security matters.  Prior to her service in executive leadership, Judge Christensen led the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section of the office focusing on cyber-attacks impacting national security, as well as trademark and copyright infringement, theft of trade secrets, and economic espionage.

In addition to dedicating much of her career to public service, Judge Christensen has also made pro bono work a priority, recently helping to launch a pro bono program for federal executive branch attorneys in Los Angeles.  In 2021, Judge Christensen was appointed to serve as a temporary judge for the Superior Court in Los Angeles County.  In that role, with the consent of the parties she has voluntary presided over small claims trials, unlawful detainer proceedings, and conducted settlement conferences.  She is an Adjunct Professor at Loyola Law School teaching a Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes course.

Before joining the United States Attorney’s Office, Judge Christensen worked as an associate at two law firms litigating complex civil disputes and defending indigent individuals accused of federal crimes.  She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Sandra S. Ikuta of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and to the Honorable Gary A. Feess of the United States District Court for the Central District of California.  Judge Christensen received her Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors, from the University of Chicago, and her Juris Doctor degree, Order of the Coif, from UCLA School of Law, as a member of the Program in Public Interest Law and Policy.

Including the position now occupied by Judge Christensen, the Central District of California has 24 full-time and one part-time magistrate judge positions.  The Central District of California comprises Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties.  It serves more than 19.3 million people, nearly half the population of the State of California.