My Experience

Employment Contracts
  • Represent clients—ranging from executives to rank-and-file employees—in confidential contract review and negotiation matters. Industries include: healthcare, technology, apparel, arts, and design/creative.

  • Resolved breach of employment contract claims for chief technology officer at prominent software company.

  • Pursued arbitration claims against publicly-traded biotechnology company on behalf of former executive owed significant compensation under written employment agreement.

Employment Litigation
  • Zweizig v. Northwest Direct Teleservices, Inc., 3:15-cv-02401-HZ (U.S.D.C., Portland Division). A federal jury returned an unanimous $1 million noneconomic damages verdict to my client, “a fired technology manager [...] unlawfully retaliated against by a former boss who published nearly 100,000 words in derogatory articles about him on a website and public blog.” (The Oregonian)

    ↑ Note: This case is currently before the Oregon Supreme Court to determine whether Oregon's statutory damage cap—ORS 31.710—limits damages in employment discrimination claims to $500,000.

  • From 2018-2020, I worked as co-counsel with Jim Vogele and the Oregon Law Center in the case of Cole v. Kraft Heinz, 18-cv-02121-SU (U.S. District Court, Pendleton Division). We represented a factory worker who was fired while on leave caring for a critically ill family member.

  • Represented IT Director of a public entity in whistleblower retaliation litigation arising under ORS 659A.199 and related statutes.

  • Represented political asylee in claims under ORS Chapters 652 and 653 to recover unpaid minimum wages and overtime pay from employer who housed employees in dormitory-style living arrangements.

  • Defended California technology company against former employee's Oregon claims for unpaid commissions.

  • Represented public employee in successful administrative proceedings and appeal to Oregon Court of Appeals in connection with unemployment insurance benefits.

  • Represented several crime victims in actions under ORS 659A.270 et seq. against employers who terminated employment due to crime victim status.

  • Defended software engineering firm against claims from former remote employee.

  • Represented fire chief in whistleblower claims including ORS 659A.203 et seq. and ORS 659A.199.

Nonimmigrant Visas
  • Obtained O-1B visa for design director at creative studio

  • Obtained O-1A visa for technology startup founder

  • Obtained O-1A visa for scientist 

  • Obtained P-1B visa for musical group

Work History

Partner, Vogele & Christiansen, Portland, OR (2013- Present)
Advise and represent employees in employment contract negotiations, employment litigation, and work visa matters.

Solo Practice, Joel Christiansen, Attorney at Law, Portland, OR (2010-2013)
Same as above. Also handled some consumer and business cases.

Associate Attorney, Mitra Law Group, Portland, OR (2009-2010)
Represented employees in employment litigation.

Law Clerk, Nicholas & Butler LLP, San Diego, CA (2006-2007)
Assisted attorneys in consumer, business, and employment litigation.

Conflicts Analyst, Foley & Lardner LLP, Milwaukee, WI (2005)
Ethically screened new matters for large international law firm.

Lawyer Referral Service Director/Staffer, Milwaukee Bar Association, Milwaukee, WI (2003-2005)
Fielded calls from the community and referred to appropriate lawyers, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and other community resources.

Volunteer Paralegal, UW-Milwaukee Legal Clinic, Milwaukee, WI (2001-2003)
Supported attorney in representing students in broad range of legal matters.