Peter Welte, '97, resigns from Grand Forks County State’s Attorney Position

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

School of Law


Grand Forks County State's Attorney Peter Welte announced Monday he will step down after a dozen years in the position and plans to open a new office with Vogel Law Firm in Grand Forks as early as

The county's top prosecutor sent a letter of resignation to the Grand Forks County Commission via email on Monday. In the email, Welte explained that Vogel Law Firm, which has locations in Bismarck, Fargo and Williston, approached him, asking if he would be interested in returning to private practice.

"Like any good attorney, I listened," he wrote in the email.

Welte said in the email he decided to take Vogel up on the offer because the job gives him more scheduling flexibility, better quality of life and "security for my family."

"It's an opportunity that needs to be explored," Welte told the Herald. "It's a tremendous law firm ... and it's a good match."

Welte's resignation becomes effective Feb. 1, the very day he hopes to open the Vogel location in Grand Forks. Welte said he does not plan on pigeonholing himself into one particular field of law, but said he would enjoy practicing agricultural law and doing corporate work.

"But neither I nor Vogel wants to limit what area of practice we do," he said. "Whatever the market calls for."

Welte said he has withdrawn his application for a district judge position in Grand Forks. He had submitted an application in November to fill one of the two district judge seats left open by retired Judge Sonja Clapp and the late Judge Karen Braaten.

In 1997, Welte was admitted to the bar and spent a time defending indigents in Grand Forks County and serving as part-time state's attorney in neighboring Steele County. In 1998, he took a full-time job as a prosecutor, as an assistant state's attorney in Grand Forks County. He was first elected as the Grand Forks County state's attorney in 2002 after his predecessor retired and has since been re-elected in 2006, 2010 and this fall.

"It's been a privilege to have this job," Welte said. "I look forward to working with the people of Grand Forks in a different capacity."

The County Commission is responsible under North Dakota law for appointing a new state's attorney.

Vogel Law Firm has locations on both sides of the Red River, with its North Dakota offices in Bismarck, Fargo and Williston and its Minnesota offices in Moorhead and Minneapolis. The firm employs 45 attorneys spanning many practice areas, including corporate work, criminal and civil litigation, employment law, healthcare, estate planning, land use, governmental relations, domestic and personal injury law.