Attorneys at Law


Reliable solutions.

Fair price.


Gale & Nielsen is one of the top civil law firms on the North Coast of California, with particular expertise in conservatorship, special needs trusts, Medi-Cal counseling, and elder law issues. 

We opened our doors in 1998, and have navigated through major economic changes in United States and Humboldt County, as well as the retirement of our founder. We have drafted effective estate plans for hundreds of people, in each case paying attention to their unique needs and goals. We have contributed to the success of businesses throughout Humboldt County, and helped dozens of clients resolve disputes both through negotiation and litigation. We bring enthusiasm and compassion to our work for every client we meet, always keeping in mind the need to provide fair value for the cost. 


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We know that finding the right attorney can be stressful. That’s why we offer free consultations to give you a chance to talk to an attorney face-to-face about your issue with no pressure. 

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managing attorney

Arthur Nielsen

Arthur Nielsen has represented both families and businesses, in large and small law firms, for 24 years. His early legal experience was as a corporate attorney at major law firms in New York City, Minneapolis, and Silicon Valley, counseling business clients in a wide variety of matters including initial formation, securities, and strategic transactions. He has been more of a small-town attorney representing families and small businesses since 2002. He first heard of Humboldt County on the Firesign Theatre's first album, and his fascination with the part of the world grew steadily until he settled here in 2009. 

Arthur is the father of a 16 year old daughter with excellent comic timing and a rollicking set of opinions about Humboldt County, social media, and the shifting sands of American culture. 



Columbia University School of Law
Juris Doctor, 1994

Columbia University
B.A., English, 1987

University of California, Los Angeles, M.B.A., 2000

Activities & Affiliations

• Humboldt County Bar Association, Member
• Humboldt County Estate Planning Council

Bar Admissions

• California, New York



Associate Attorney

Zachary Curtis

Zack did a tour in the Navy in the 90s, and became a nuclear qualified electrician on a submarine.  The Navy’s emphasis on attention to detail, confidentiality and service have carried over and been a great asset to his legal career. 

After his time in the Navy, Zack worked his way through law school as an analyst with the California Attorney General’s office, False Claims section.  He spent four years assisting the lawyers with complex, computerized white-collar investigations and litigation.  After law school and the Bar exam, he joined the Madera County Public Defender’s office. He spent over 6 years in intensive criminal litigation as a Public Defender, and then 4 years as a Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney. 

Zack has conducted over 30 jury trials to verdict, including three murders and several other life cases. In July of 2016, Zack went into private practice with a Eureka firm where he worked land use, contracts and civil litigation. He joined the Gale & Nielsen team in October 2017, where he contributes to all of the firm's practices. 

When not at work, Zack enjoys spending time in the garden, especially with the numerous apple trees which he has been collecting and grafting for some years now.


University of California, Davis, B.A.

McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, J.D.






Crystal Dean

Crystal has been a part of the firm since September of 2007. She started out as our receptionist, and as time passed she began to assist the paralegals with their projects. She advanced from reception to Administrative Assistant, and began on-line paralegal studies at the Los Angeles Mission College, obtaining her paralegal certificate in August of 2012. Her energy, wit, and professionalism are central to the DNA of our firm.

Crystal is a native of Humboldt County, having grown up in Scotia when it was a company-owned town, and then in Fortuna.

She spent the majority of her childhood in ‘the hills’ with her parents and grandparents, enjoying Ruth Lake, camping, hunting, fishing, and ‘getting firewood,’ in what she says were the last of the ‘good old days.’ She attended Fortuna Union High School while also taking classes at our local junior college, College of the Redwoods. She then dabbled in the medical field, managing medical records at a local doctor’s office, before coming to work for our firm.

She met her husband, Jeremy Dean (a Diesel Technician and volunteer Fire Fighter in Fortuna), at a local pizza parlor. Jeremy was then approved by Crystal’s group of friends, who she affectionately considers her big brothers, and she and Jeremy were married four years later. The firm, of course, attended the party.

Crystal and Jeremy are now surrounded by a slew of nieces and nephews, and enjoy spending their free time visiting friends and family. Crystal and Jeremy have the same interests as Crystal did growing up, in Humboldt County’s great outdoors, be it fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, or ‘getting firewood’ for the family.