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Rugby High grad adds new chapter to her legal career

By Staff | Aug 22, 2020

Submitted Photo Rugby High graduate Nici Meyer recently joined Minot law firm Olson and Burns, P.C.

A Rugby High alum has joined a Minot law firm after several years as a North Dakota state’s attorney and assistant attorney general for the state of North Dakota.

Nici Meyer, who spent her high school years on a ranch north of Rugby, said she had fond memories of her academic life. Meyer now works at Olson and Burns, P.C. in Minot.

“My freshman year, I was in FFA and went to green hand camp,” she said. “But after my freshman year, I filled my schedule with academic classes so I wasn’t in FFA or ag classes after my freshman year.”

“When I was in high school, I was thinking of three different careers outside of farming and ranching,” Meyer said. “I always knew that I would farm and ranch my entire life. I also was looking toward supplementing farming and ranching with another career.”

“I looked at being an attorney, being a doctor or being a veterinarian. I looked at architecture a little bit as well,” Meyer added.

Deciding on a law career “was a practical matter,” she said. “I was good at academics so that wasn’t an issue for me, but I looked at (a legal career) as being something I had a wide variety of opportunities available. As an attorney, I didn’t have to be a normal litigator if I didn’t want to be. I could use my degree to do other things as well, whether it would be consulting or working for a bank so I wasn’t just locked into one career path in becoming an attorney.”

Meyer said her law education helped her decide what she wanted to do as she grew in her career.

“One of the things I wanted to do was live in a rural area, more than likely North Dakota, and being an attorney gave me an opportunity to basically have a career anywhere I wished,” she said.

After graduating Rugby High, Meyer attended Miles Community College on a rodeo scholarship for two years, then transferred to Moorhead State University for a bachelor’s degree in political science. She completed her J.D. degree at the University of North Dakota.

A written statement from Olson and Burns said Meyer will represent “banks and both large and small business” in the practice.

“Her law career began in southwest North Dakota where Meyer served as the elected state’s attorney for both Bowman and Slope Counties, as well as working as a sole practitioner with a general practice focused on real estate transactions and title, probate law, collections, and civil litigation,” said the statement. “Meyer also has extensive experience in contract drafting, review, and negotiations, as well as risk management.”

“Prior to joining Olson and Burns, PC, Meyer served as an assistant attorney general in the North Dakota Attorney General’s Office within the Civil Litigation and Natural Resources Division where she worked on the regulation of oil and gas production, civil litigation, and various administrative law cases,” the statement added.

Meyer now lives in Berthold, where she works with her husband and parents on land that has been in the family for generations. Meyer’s grandfather, Darrel, and grandmother, Geraldine, ranched on land owned by Geraldine’s parents, Herbert and Mildred Birdsall. Herb Birdsall was inducted in the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. Geraldine was active as a North Dakota state senator for many years. Meyer’s uncle, Dean, is also a former state senator.

Meyer said she prefers to stay out of politics for now, concentrating on her practice, ranching and her children, including her 13-year-old son, who is active in hockey, rodeo and football.

“A very busy 13-year-old,” Meyer said of her son.

“I enjoy politics. I pay attention to bills that are being passed and wouldn’t be afraid to speak on behalf of myself or clients for those types of things, but to be the elected official that is making those laws is not something I’ve aspired to at this point,” Meyer added.

Although Meyer has spent her adult life elsewhere in the state, she still keeps the connections she made in Rugby. “I do a lot of business in Rugby,” she said. “I do most of my banking in Rugby; my tax professional is in Rugby. I still have a lot of ties to Rugby and do a lot of business there. Those are connections (made) just by growing up there.”

“I still have good friends in the area, and I still come back to sell cattle there as well,” she added. “Rugby’s a nice town. It really is. There are some good shopping opportunities downtown. It’s a good area.”

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