Christie was born in Newark and raised in Livingston. He volunteered for Thomas Kean's gubernatorial campaign at age 15. After graduating in 1984 from the University of Delaware, he earned a J. D. at Seton Hall. He practiced law from 1987 to 2002. He was elected county freeholder (legislator) for Morris County, serving from 1995 to 1998. By 2002, he had campaigned for Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush; the latter appointed him U. S. Attorney for New Jersey, a position he held from 2002 to 2008.