From one passion to another: Local attorney set to retire and spend more time doing charitable work
After more than 30 years in the business, local attorney Chuck Peterson is calling it a career and delving into another passion, charitable work.
Peterson, who has spent the last 34 years practicing law in Dickinson, will be retiring from Mackoff Kellogg Law Firm on Nov. 10.
"It's been wonderful," Peterson said. "I've had wonderful clients and have enjoyed coming into work every day."
Peterson will remain involved with the Mackoff Kellogg Law Firm on an of-counsel basis, which will allow him to assist the other attorneys of the firm with the transition of the files.
"Fortunately the Mackoff Kellogg Law Firm has excellent attorneys who will be able to continue
to assist my clients with their legal needs," Peterson said.. "I am honored that my clients have entrusted me with their legal work these past years, and I have genuinely enjoyed working with them."
Christina Wenko, Golden Valley state's attorney and prosecutor for the city of Dickinson, said Peterson has been her mentor since 2008 when she first started doing work with firm.
"He's been a great teacher," Wenko said. "He's been a good example of how to practice and do things right, and we're going to miss him. ... I think he's the calm in the storm usually. He's always that sounding board that we've gotten accustomed to and just being the 'it's going to be OK' voice."
Peterson, born and raised in Regent, decided to go to law school when he was attending Dickinson State University after taking a business law class where his professor gave him the idea to take the law school admittance exam. He later attended law school at the University of Montana-Missoula.
Over the years, Peterson has practiced various kinds of law including, estate planning, real estate and commercial law, as well as oil and gas-related law where he represented mineral and land owners. He has been with Mackoff Kellogg since 1990, after spending seven years practicing on his own.
Haylee Cripe, interim Dickinson city attorney, said Peterson has a lot "personal integrity" that really draws people to him.
"Working with Chuck is kind of like working with a tornado; it's just this incredible force that moves very quickly," she said. "He's just a dynamic person. The staff and everyone here just respond really well to him, and he is kind of a rock and stability in the firm. Everyone looks up to him."
Wenko said Peterson is highly respected.
"I think he's just a model of inspiration for all of us, especially with the work that he's doing outside of the firm with his charitable work," she said.
Over the past 25 years Peterson has led a number of service teams on missions across the world through charitable organizations such as God's Child Project and Habitat for
Humanity. He went on his first trip in 1992 with Habitat for Humanity to India. In 2017, he traveled to Nepal, Portugal and Myanmar. Already planned for the first half of 2018 are service trips to Antigua, Guatemala with God's Child Project and Amman, Jordan with Habitat for Humanity. If you are interested in joining one of the service teams in the future, email him at ChuckGV@outlook.com.
"(The experiences) have been somewhat life-changing," he said. "What I really enjoy is having other people come and have that same experience. It really kind of opens up your eyes to the wonderful people around the world and lets you see the different cultures of the world and kind of travel for a cause."
Cripe said she is excited to watch Peterson take his next step and continue his mission work.
"He's still young and in really good health, and so I think it makes for when he's so passionate about that," she said. "The firm here is in a really good position. We've got a great team of attorneys and just have a really good foundation built here, so it's a good time for him to be able to take his next step and know that everything here is going to be just fine."
Mackoff-Kellogg will celebrate Chuck's retirement with an open house on Thursday, Nov. 2, at Fluffy Fields Vineyard and Winery (2708 21st St. E. in Dickinson) from 5-8 p.m.