Charles was born and raised in a small town in southwestern North Dakota. Bismarck, however, has been his home for three decades, and it is where he and his wife Melanie, with the help of several dogs, raised their three children.
Charles joined the firm after twenty-six years in state government, where for twenty-three years he was Director of the North Dakota 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, State Engineer’s Office, 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 and State Engineer in matters concerning interstate and international 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 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. Charles served as the committee’s chairman for two years.
Charles’ practice with Pearce Durick primarily includes the following areas: oil and gas, real property, water resources, and tribal law and jurisdiction.