SJLW Award Winner


Christopher Dodson is the Executive Director and General Counsel for the North Dakota Catholic Conference, the public policy voice of the Catholic bishops of North Dakota.

Originally from inland Southern California, Dodson received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Riverside in 1986 and his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1989. While in law school he was received into the Catholic Church.

After law school, Dodson returned to Southern California and worked as a litigator for a large firm. During that time, he looked for opportunities to serve the church by writing articles and becoming involved in pro-life and social justice causes. 

He and his wife, Rosalie, chose to move to her native state of North Dakota and an opportunity to work for the North Dakota Catholic Conference quickly presented itself.

Dodson started with the North Dakota Catholic Conference in 1994 and has served as its executive director since 1995. Taking advantage of new technology, the North Dakota Catholic Conference became the first state Catholic conference to have a permanent website, an email newsletter, a blog, and an RSS feed.  Dodson drafted and helped shepherd the enactment of legislation on various issues including the protection of human life, religious freedom, the family, and care for the poor. Dodson served as a consultant to the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, a board member of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, vice-president and president of the National Association of State Catholic Conference Directors, a member of the ad hoc pro-life legal advisory group of the USCCB General Counsel’s office.  He is a member of the National Diocesan Attorneys Association. His articles have appeared in diocesan publications, the New Oxford Review, America, Catholic Rural Life, and the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly.