Charles M. Carvell
Charles was born and raised in a small town in southwestern North Dakota. Bismarck, however, has been his home for nearly three decades, and it is where he and his wife Melanie—with the help of two dogs—raised their three children.
Charles joined the firm after 26 years in state government, where for 23 years he was Director of the Attorney General’s Division of Natural Resources & Indian Affairs. His division provided general counsel and litigation services to state officials on matters concerning oil and gas, state-owned land and minerals, water resources, environmental protection, wildlife, agriculture, federal lands, corporate farming, unclaimed property, and Indian law.
During his time with the Attorney General’s Office, Charles served as lead counsel for the Oil & Gas Division, Board of University & School Lands, State Water Commission, Department of Agriculture, and Game & Fish Department. As attorney for these agencies, Charles assisted in ensuring compliance with the law regulating water resources, agriculture, hunting and fishing, and the oil and gas industry. He also served as the Oil & Gas Division’s Hearing Officer, presiding over about 2,000 regulatory hearings. His work for the Land Board involved quiet title actions, mineral and surface leasing, and oil and gas royalty issues. Charles advised and represented the State Water Commission in matters concerning interstate rivers, navigable rivers and lakes, water distribution projects, and water control facilities. His Indian law work involved criminal, civil, and regulatory jurisdiction in Indian Country, as well as reservation boundaries, aboriginal hunting and fishing rights, and Indian gaming.
On behalf of the state, Charles authored a number of appellate briefs and regularly appeared before the N.D. Supreme Court and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. He also prepared federal court amicus briefs—joined by numerous other states—on issues of national and regional concern.
During most of his career in state government, Charles served as North Dakota’s legal representative on the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission and as the Attorney General’s representative on the Western Attorneys General Litigation Action Committee.
- University of Edinburgh (Ph.D.)
- University of London (LL.M.)
- University of North Dakota (J.D.)
- Jamestown College (B.A.)
Admissions + Appearances
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
- U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
- U.S. District Court, District North Dakota
- U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota
- U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
- N.D. Supreme Court and N.D. District Courts
- Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Court
- Fort Berthold Tribal Court
- Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Tribal Court
- Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe Tribal Court
Recognition + Activities
- Jim Jones Public Service Award, Conference of Western Attorneys General
- Lawyer of the Year Award, N.D. Attorney General’s Office
- Public Service Award, N.D Lignite Energy Council
- Chair, Western Attorneys General Litigation Action Committee
- Faculty, Underground CO² Storage
- Faculty, Criminal Jurisdiction in Indian Country
- Faculty, Federal Bar Association’s Indian Law Conference
- Faculty, N.D. State Bar Association Water Law Seminar
Charles is a contributing author to the Conference of Western Attorney General’s 2014, 2015, and 2016 editions of the American Indian Law Deskbook, published by Thomson Reuters. He served on the Editorial Committee and as a chapter author and chapter editor for the first four editions of the Deskbook published in 1993, 1998, 2004, and 2008 by University Press of Colorado. Charles' published articles include:
- Surface Waters and Farmers: Sharing Land Management with the Federal Government, 42 Mitchell Hamline Law Review 1068 (2016), co-authored with Jennifer L. Verleger
- Indian Reserved Water Rights: Impending Conflict or Coming Rapprochement Between the State of North Dakota and North Dakota Indian Tribes, 85 N.D. Law Rev. 1 (2009)
- North Dakota Waterways: The Public’s Right of Recreation and Questions of Title, 64 N.D. Law Rev. 7 (1988)
- The North Dakota Garrison Diversion Project and International Environmental Law, 60 N.D. Law Rev. 603 (1984)