Attorney at Law, Owner
I was born to hardworking, blue-collar parents with wandering souls. Although I was born in New Mexico and spent some time in Nevada, I was raised for most of my childhood in the beautiful mountains of northern Idaho. After finishing high school, I received a B.A. from the University of Idaho. At the time, I was the first in my family to earn a college education.
After college, I had no plans of law school. I moved to Boise and started my career, first as a real estate agent and then began a successful construction business. Law school was nowhere on the horizon until an evening out with friends when I myself had a run in with the law.
Don’t get too excited – the story isn’t juicy, but the experience was life changing. I had one (or possibly a couple) too many drinks and was walking home from a friendly neighbor pub. I was walking home with a friend and he was merrily ringing doorbells along the way. When a grumbling neighbor who had been rudely awakened from his or her peaceful slumber called the police to report a disturbance, I received a misdemeanor charge of disturbing the peace.
University of South Dakota School of Law
Juris Doctor, 2013
University of South Dakota
Masters of Public Administration, 2013
University of Idaho
Owner, Nelson Law
2017 - Present
Associate Attorney, Rensch Law
Activities and Affiliations
South Dakota Bar Association, Member
South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association, Member
South Dakota Criminal Defense, Member
South Dakota State Court
Federal District Court of South Dakota
In the grand scheme of things, the charge wasn’t terribly serious, but it did have a great impact on my life. The fines were significant and I was worried prospective clients would have concerns hiring a contractor with “a record.” This was the first time I had had an interaction with law enforcement and the first time I had given much thought to the law in general. I had made a mistake, but I did not want this lapse in judgment to have an impact on my entire future.
The concept occurred to me that police are a double check on society, and the law is society’s double check on police. This thought of a system of checks and balances was one that I could not get out of my head. Before I knew it, I was enrolled in the Law School at the University of South Dakota.
My first internship as a law school student was in Rapid City on the edge of the Black Hills. That summer, I became hooked on the beauty and the people of the Black Hills. Today, I make my living and give back to my community by practicing law in Sturgis, South Dakota.
When I’m not in a suit and tie, you’ll most likely find me taking advantage of all the Black Hills have to offer to those who live here and love to visit here. I enjoy riding my motorcycle in the summer months, my snowboard in the winter months, and my mountain bike whenever I can.
Throughout my career, I have learned that good people can make terrible mistakes. But an error in judgment, or a wrongful accusation, does not need to cause a lifetime of punishment.