If you could look up "Charles DeMakis" in the dictionary, the listing would not be very far from the word "busy."
In reality, though, "busy" is right on top of him.
DeMakis, a Minot native, is an attorney specializing in energy and mineral law - placing him at Ground Zero when it comes to the area's burgeoning gas, oil, potash and wind energy boom.
Dave Caldwell/MDN • Minot attorney Charles DeMakis has been a busy man since the energy boom came to northwest North Dakota. DeMakis specializes in mineral and energy law.
"In the last five years, the natural resources side of the world has just taken off," DeMakis said Wednesday in his office at the Olson and Burns law offices downtown. "I'm doing work from Philadelphia to Los Angeles with clients calling. It's usually, 'Grandma or great-grandma had some minerals in western North Dakota that all of a sudden have gone into production. We've got this lease offer in front of us - what do we do?'"
DeMakis said most people don't understand the type of language that is put in front of them during the process of lease agreements, so many people contact him for help with the process.
Plus, once the wells go into production there are probate and curative issues among others, he said.
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"There are a lot of different entities to deal with, and a lot of hoops to jump through," DeMakis said. "It's been the wild, wild west lately with oil and gas."
DeMakis said his office handles some of the finer technical aspects of oil and gas leases in order to make sure his clients are getting a fair shake in the process. His representation has covered landowners' issues with natural resource exploration such as well sites, surface damages and access agreements.
He is licensed to practice law in North Dakota and Minnesota, and in a variety of federal courts including the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
DeMakis said he has been president and vice-president of the Ward County Bar Association, president of the Young Lawyers section of the state of North Dakota, as well as being the current Northwest District representative to the State Bar Association of North Dakota's Board of Governors.
DeMakis cautions that landowners and mineral owners should make sure they seek out representation to protect their best interest.
"All terms and conditions are negotiable and the first offer should be a beginning point, not an end point," he says. "There are numerous pitfalls that a person can fall into in these agreements, but the time and money invested in legal representation can be recovered two- or threefold in the terms and conditions that we can negotiate."
DeMakis said he has been working in this area law for about seven years, but for the past five it has been "steady, steady and steady."
"There's more drilling activity, there's more leasing activity," he said. "The prices go up and the calls keep coming.
"If the economy keeps going the way it's going and oil prices stay where they are, it's just going to keep thriving."