Meet the Legal Team of
Kalash & Pettit

Kristi Pettit Venhuizen

Kristi Pettit Venhuizen attended the University of North Dakota earning her B.S. in Criminal Justice Studies in 1995. She attended Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas, receiving her Juris Doctor with distinction in 1998.  Kristi is admitted to the bar in North Dakota, Minnesota, and Kansas.  After graduation, Kristi returned to Grand Forks where she worked under the mentorship of Dwight F. Kalash.  Dwight retired in 2000 handing over the reins of his practice, which is now Kalash & Pettit. 

In addition to her private practice, Kristi serves as the Grand Forks City Prosecutor and acts as an advisory attorney for the Community Violence Intervention Center.  She also serves as a Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor for the State of North Dakota, providing assistance to prosecutors and law enforcement in the areas of traffic safety and impaired driving enforcement.

Kristi is a past president of the State Bar Association of North Dakota as well as the Greater Grand Forks County Bar Association.  She currently serves on the Inquiry Committee Northeast which reviews complaints filed against attorneys in the region.  Other professional responsibilities include teaching Criminal Procedure and Criminal Law for the Criminal Justice Department at the University of North Dakota. 

Kristi is married to Brett Venhuizen who is a professor of aviation and current chair of the aviation department in the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences at the University of North Dakota.  They live in Grand Forks with their dog, Judge.

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Brett D. Venhuizen

Brett D. Venhuizen was born and raised in Rapid City, South Dakota.  He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of South Dakota in 1997 and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Dakota School of Law in 2000.  Brett spent a year in private practice in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, before moving to Grand Forks to begin his career in academia at the University of North Dakota’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.  Needing a break from the winter weather, Brett spent two years as a professor at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, before returning to UND.   

Brett is a professor of aviation at UND and currently serves as the chair of the department.  Brett holds FAA Airline Transport Pilot and flight instructor certificates.  He is licensed to practice law in North Dakota and South Dakota and engages in a general practice with a focus on FAA enforcement and aviation transactional matters.  He serves as an expert in FAA regulatory interpretation and aviation safety matters having testified to his expertise in family law, aircraft accident, and federal criminal matters.

Brett is a member of the Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association, the NTSB Bar Association, and serves as a panel attorney for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.  Brett is married to Kristi Venhuizen.  


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Nicholas A. Horst

Nicholas A. Horst is from Anchorage, Alaska, and is the second of five kids.  He graduated from East Anchorage High School and moved to North Dakota in 2006 to attend the University of North Dakota. He received Bachelor of Science degree in Social Sciences from the University of North Dakota and his Juris Doctorate from the University of North Dakota School of Law in 2019.

While attending UND for undergrad, Nicholas was involved in Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and Student Government. Nicholas was able to help build wheelchair ramps for individuals in the Grand Forks community through Pi Kappa Phi’s philanthropy The Ability Experience. After graduation, Nicholas worked on the oil rigs, monitoring the sites and collecting data for a few months before deciding to attend law school.  While at law school, Nicholas was vice president of the Sports Law Society, competed in moot court competitions at UND and in Buffalo, New York, and was a member of the Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity.  He earned a US Air Transportation Policy Certificate in May 2019.

When Nicholas is not working, he is active with the Masons and Shriners. He enjoys watching football and movies, playing sports, and hanging out with friends.  

In addition to private practice, Nicholas serves as the Grand Forks Assistant City Prosecutor. Nicholas is licensed to practice law in North Dakota and Minnesota.  

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Julie Cota

Office Manager

Julie Cota is an experienced legal assistant who began her legal career in 2000.  Julie spent many years working in the field of law, including years as a litigation paralegal in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where she was an integral part of The Spence Law Firm working side by side with the attorneys and their clients in the office and in the courtroom.  On many occasions, Julie was complimented by clients of the firm for her compassion and caring attitude. Additional legal experience includes working as a legal assistant at general practice law firms in Minnesota and North Dakota wherein she has provided secretary/legal assistance with adoptions, custody disputes, family law issues, criminal law, probate, and estate planning. 

Julie’s educational background includes Bemidji State University and East Grand Forks Technical College.  Julie joined the law firm of Kalash & Pettit as a Legal Assistant in 2019.  “I am honored to be Kristi Pettit Venhuizen’s secretary/legal assistant at this time in my life.  She is a highly intelligent and exceptionally skilled attorney, and again, I am honored to be a part of the team at Kalash & Pettit.”

Julie grew up in East Grand Forks, Minnesota.  She and her husband live in Grand Forks with their two dogs.  In her spare time, Julie likes to fish and spend time with family who still live in the area.

Kalash & Pettit providing solutions to your problems in
North Dakota and Minnesota.

In business for decades with the experience and dedication to help you deal effectively with your legal matters.
Contact us to schedule your FREE 30-minute consultation.