A native of northeast South Dakota and a 1975 graduate of the University of South Dakota School of Law, Gilbertson was elected to a four-year term as chief justice by the members of the state Supreme Court in September 2001. He was re-elected to a second four-year term as chief justice by members of the state Supreme Court in June 2005, and a third four-year term in June 2009. Appointed to the South Dakota Supreme Court in April 1995 to represent the 5th Supreme Court District, Gilbertson was retained by voters in general elections in 1998 and in 2006.

Prior to serving on the state Supreme Court, Gilbertson engaged in private practice from 1975 until his appointment to the circuit court bench in 1986. Additionally, he served as deputy state’s attorney and as an attorney for several municipalities and school districts. A past president of the South Dakota Judges Association, Gilbertson is a member of the Conference of Chief Justices and chairs its committees on Tribal/State Relations and the Task Force on Politics and Judicial Selection. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the National Conference of Chief Justices from 2005-2007. In 2006, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Center for State Courts for his defense of judicial independence.

Before earning his Juris Doctor from the USD School of Law, Gilbertson received his undergraduate degree from South Dakota State University in 1972. He currently serves on the Judicial-Bar Liaison Committee of the State Bar Association and is a member of the Glacial Lakes Bar Association, the Brown County Bar Association and the South Dakota Bar Association. He and his wife, Deborah, have four children. A photo of Gilbertson is available for download at www.usd.edu/press/news/images/releases/David_Gilbertson.jpg.

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