Born in January 1957 and raised in Fargo, American Samoa, and Albuquerque, New Mexico; has two children.
Graduated from University of North Dakota, 1979 with studies in Political Science, Journalism and Early American History. Earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of North Dakota School of Law, 1982.
Law Clerk, New Mexico Court of Appeals, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1982 to 1983; Assistant State’s Attorney, Walsh County, ND, 1983 to 1984; private practice: 1983 to 1986 in Santa Fe, Grafton, and Fargo; member and partner with the Nilles Law Firm, Fargo, 1987 to 2005; appointed June 2005 to the North Dakota Supreme Court and elected to unexpired four-year term November 2008 and 10-year term in 2012.
Memberships and Committees
President of the State Bar Association of North Dakota from 2001 to 2002 and served as a member and Chair of several Bar Association and Court committees relating to lawyer and judicial ethics and professional conduct. Currently serves as Chair of North Dakota’s Committee on Judiciary Standards. Past Chair of the North Dakota Judicial Conference. Current Chair of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility. Past member of ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility; past Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Client Protection, and past Chair of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility Policy Implementation Committee. Adjunct faculty at National Judicial College, Reno NV, and regular worldwide presenter on seminars for judges and lawyers on ethics, technology, and evidence.