Charles Carvell


Charles Carvell is an Attorney for Braaten Law Firm, and joined the firm in June of 2024. Charles brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from his 26 years of state government experience as well as his years of private practice.

Charles served as 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. He was also 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. 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 most recently worked at Pearce Durick, PLLC.

Charles was born and raised in a small town in southwestern North Dakota. Bismarck has been home for three decades, and it is where he and his wife Melanie, with the help of several dogs, raised their three children.

Bar Admissions
  • North Dakota
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • United States District Court, District of North Dakota
  • North Dakota Supreme Court and North Dakota District Courts
  • Fort Berthold Tribal Court
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Law – University of Edinburgh
  • Master of Laws – University of London
  • Juris Doctor – University of North Dakota
  • Bachelor of Arts – Jamestown College
Professional Activities
  • Underground CO2 Storage – Faculty
  • Criminal Jurisdiction in Indian Country – Faculty
  • North Dakota State Bar Association, Water Law Seminar – Faculty
  • Jim Jones Public Service Award – Conference of Western Attorneys General
  • Lawyer of the Year – North Dakota Attorney General’s Office
  • Public Service Award – North Dakota Lignite Energy Council
  • 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)

    Presentations and Seminars:

    • Underground CO2 Storage – Faculty
    • Criminal Jurisdiction in Indian Country – Faculty
    • North Dakota State Bar Association, Water Law Seminar – Faculty

Have an Immediate Need or Concern?

We excel at responding to the unexpected and have the experience necessary to ensure we are prepared when the unexpected occurs. Please contact us if you find yourself in need of astute attorneys with a passion for protecting land and its stewards.

Braaten Law Firm

109 North 4th Street, Suite 100
Bismarck, ND 58501

(701) 221-2911


(701) 221-5842