Gov. Doug Burgum today announced that Mandan attorney Ryan Norrell will serve as the next general counsel for the Governor’s Office, effective Feb. 28, citing his broad experience in both the private and public sectors, including as legal counsel for the North Dakota Public Service Commission (PSC) and as state’s attorney for LaMoure County.
Norrell has served as general counsel for Farm Credit Services of Mandan since 2015, managing the legal functions of the customer-owned financial cooperative. He previously served as an attorney focused on water law at Dwyer Law Office in Bismarck and as legal counsel for the PSC, focusing on the Public Utility Division. Prior to that, Norrell operated his own law practice in LaMoure, serving as the elected state’s attorney in LaMoure County from 2011 to 2013 and as city attorney for multiple cities.
“Ryan brings a broad range of experience in government and the private sector, from working on critical water issues and testifying before legislative committees to providing legal advice to county and city officials and arguing criminal matters before the North Dakota Supreme Court,” Burgum said. “He also has represented North Dakota farmers and ranchers and has the ability to translate the law into common language to serve clients of all backgrounds. Combined with his work in state government and on federal issues, his diverse background and expertise will serve the citizens of North Dakota well.”
Norrell earned his bachelor’s degree in 2006 from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and his law degree in 2009 from the University of North Dakota School of Law. He has been a member of the State Bar Association’s Ethics Committee since 2018.
Norrell will succeed current General Counsel Leslie Bakken Oliver, who has served in the Governor’s Office since Burgum and Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford took office on December 2016. Bakken Oliver announced her retirement in August pending the transition to a new general counsel. Burgum expressed his deepest gratitude for Bakken Oliver’s exceptional service to the State of North Dakota.