KRAYCINOVICH02.jpgBILL GAITHER/The Register-Mail

Michael Kraycinovich speaks during an interview Tuesday morning on his third floor office at the Knox County Courthouse.

Internship leads to attorney job

Knox graduate hired as assistant county state's attorney

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

GALESBURG - Mike Kraycinovich looked like a man on the verge of burial Tuesday morning.

A stack of felony files were piled outside the door of his office.

Inside the office, eight more stacks of manila felony folders covered the 25-year-old's desk. The scant space left was home to two cell phones, a desk phone, a cup of coffee and a laptop computer.

"Sorry about the mess," Knox County's new assistant state's attorney said. "The files seem to pile up pretty quickly."

Kraycinovich is no stranger to the work load of an assistant state's attorney. He worked in Knox County State's Attorney Paul Mangieri's office for four years while he attended Knox College. He also interned with Mangieri last summer, before he started his final year of law school.

The time and effort he put in then paid off.

Mangieri recalled his first impression of Kraycinovich.

"Here was a young individual who just walked up to the window and said he had an interest in law and politics," Mangieri said. "We took him up on that offer. We told him we couldn't pay him. He said it didn't matter.

"Mike Kraycinovich has the kind of drive and initiative you rarely see today. He interned with our office for a few years before we were ever able to compensate him. He was just a young man with a lot of drive and initiative."

Kraycinovich knew he'd found his element.

"I remember the first case I ever worked on for Paul. It was the mega hog farm case," Kraycinovich said. "Here I am, a Knox student from New Jersey. I didn't know what a hog was. I didn't have any idea what a hog farm was.

"But it was a really interesting case and it was interesting to watch how Paul worked. I learned so much by working here."

After Kraycinovich graduated from Knox in 2003, he attended Oklahoma City University School of Law.

He returned to the Knox County Courthouse during the summer of 2005 and prosecuted a driving-under-the-influence case.

"That was a three- to four-day jury trial," Kraycinovich said. "It's tough to find people guilty in DUI jury trials - and that jury was out for something like eight or nine hours.

"But ultimately they found him guilty."

Kraycinovich moved on after finishing his work at Oklahoma City. He took a job in Litchfield with a private firm headed by attorney Pete Drummond, a Knox alum.

"I was mainly doing workman's comp cases when Paul Mangieri called and said he had a position open," Kraycinovich said. "It was a dream position for me. How could I turn down the felony work I always wanted to do?"

Kraycinovich said his long-term goal is to "be the best attorney I can be" and working in Knox County offers good experience.

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