Photo of Ethan Johnson

Roseau, Minn. native, Ethan Johnson, looks back at his time at the University of Minnesota Crookston as a vital stepping stone on his path to becoming a lawyer. Johnson, a 2019 UMN Crookston graduate, double majored in business management and communication studies. Since his departure from UMN Crookston, Johnson has been attending the University of North Dakota Law School, which he started in August 2019. 

Johnson knew since his high school years he wanted to pursue law, “When I was in junior high and high school at Roseau, I had teachers tell me I ‘should be a lawyer.’ Some of that probably had to do with the strong opinions I expressed in school, but at the time the idea of attending college for seven years seemed like a daunting task. However, attending UMN Crookston and taking legal business classes, mixed with my small business background, and the slight curiosity I have always had in law, proved that law school was a perfect fit.”

Currently, Johnson is spending his summer working at Brink Lawyers, a firm located in Hallock, Minn. Although COVID-19 hit in early March, Johnson has not allowed this to stop his work and learning process. 

Johnson has various tasks as an employee at the law office, “My duties at the law firm can vary, but mostly it is a lot of researching various legal issues for the lawyer's clients. However, I do get to go along with the lawyers of the firm to client meetings and hopefully, once COVID settles down, court. It has been a great experience so far. The firm practices a breadth of different types of legal work. If I am working on contract law in the morning, I might be working on criminal law in the afternoon.” 

As someone who is constantly yearning to learn more, Johnson values being able to study a plethora of topics. As he further explained, there has not been a day when he is working on the same case or subject the entire time. 

“I really appreciate this because as an aspiring lawyer I have so much to learn. I am trying to push myself to have an open mind and soak up as much as I can because I think it is important to take advantage of all the opportunities and different types of law practices I am being exposed to,” Johnson explained. 

Each day Johnson spends at the law firm is a day he realizes how much UMN Crookston helped him get to where he is today. Johnson especially acknowledges how UMN Crookston taught him time management through the many activities he was involved in. Furthermore, Johnson felt safe expressing his ideas, opinions, and feelings during his time here, as he found himself in a community where everyone could express themselves and build off of each other. 

Not only did Johnson take advantage of the various opportunities UMN Crookston offered, he also found the faculty and staff went the extra mile to help him. 

Johnson fondly recalls some of the faculty members who helped him along the way, “Judge Yon teaches business legal environment and that class was pivotal in my decision to go to law school. It was one of the most engaging and interesting classes I took in the four years at UMN Crookston. Megan Kragness, my faculty advisor, and Megan Pederson also helped me make the decision of attending law school. The faculty at UMN Crookston truly do care about their student's futures and help them take the best steps for future success.”

As someone who is well on his way to becoming a lawyer, Johnson takes time each and everyday to reflect on the skills that UMN Crookston provided. Johnson urges students to take advantage of opportunities to grow professionally and personally. If any student is considering graduate school, Johnson advises pushing themselves in classes now because it will make the adjustment from undergraduate to professional school so much easier.  

About UMN Crookston

One of five campuses in the University of Minnesota System, the University of Minnesota Crookston cultivates curiosity by engaging students in hands-on learning connecting theory to practice. As the experienced leader in delivering education online, the Crookston campus offers a distinctive learning environment providing personal attention and mentorship to develop leaders, lifelong learners, and engaged citizens. Visit Crookston at 

About UMN

The University of Minnesota System, with campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester, and the Twin Cities, is driven by a singular vision of excellence. We are proud of our land-grant mission of world-class education, groundbreaking research, and community-engaged outreach, and we are unified in our drive to serve Minnesota. Learn more at

Story Contact: Shawn Smith - - (218) 281-8414