Senior Judge David L. Piper
Senior Judge David L. Piper


Appointed to the Hennepin County District Court by Governor Mark Dayton, effective June 16, 2011. 

Elected in 2012 and 2018.  

Retired on Nov. 22, 2022.

Appointed and assigned to serve statewide as Senior Judge from Feb. 27, 2023, to June 30, 2025.


Whittier College, Whittier, California, B.A. (1975)
Hamline Law School, Saint Paul, Minnesota, J.D. (1979)


Hennepin County District Court Judge, Aug. 2011–Nov. 22, 2022

Hennepin County Family Court Referee, 2000–2011

Hennepin County Contract Child Support Magistrate, 1999-2001

Hennepin County Contract Chief Family Court Conflicts Panel Public Defender, 1995–1998

Hennepin County Contract Chief Family Court Public Defender, 1990–1995

Hennepin County Contract Conciliation Court Judge/Referee, 1983–1998

David L. Piper Law Office (sole practitioner) 1980–2000

Professional Memberships:

Chair of the Equal Justice Committee of the Hennepin County District Court, 7/1/12-6/30/14

Member, Minnesota and Hennepin County Bar Associations

Professional and Community Activities:

Leadership and Volunteer Activities

Neighborhood Involvement Program, Board Member, 2007-2013

Twin Cities Public Television, Board Member, 2004-2010   

Chrysalis, Board Member and volunteer, 1983-2001   

Park House, Capital Campaign Volunteer, 1994-1996

Minnesota AIDS Project, volunteer lawyer and volunteer, 1990-Present

Anoka Metro Regional Treatment Center,

  • Volunteer, 1996-2002
  • Fundraiser/Funder, Cemetery-revision, Fall 2008          

Citizens League, Former Board Member

Minnesota State Bar Association, Mock Trial Coach at Central High School, 1997-2000

Headwaters Fund, Board of Directors, 1988-1994

Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Member, 2008–Present

Coordinator, Volunteer Guardians ad Litem, Hennepin County Panel for Incompetent Family Court Litigants, 2010–2011

Minneapolis Public Schools

  • Substitute reading coach at CityView elementary school,  2005-2010
  • Weekly volunteer teacher’s aide in ESL Classroom, 2004–2006

Pro Bono Legal Activities

Member, Hennepin County Family Violence Coordinating Council, 2004-2007 (Vice-Chair, Civil Subcommittee, 2004)

Volunteer Lawyers Network

  • Volunteer (1980-1990)
  • Board Member (1982-1996)

Minnesota Supreme Court Task Force on Court-Appointed Counsel, 2000-2001, focusing on improving representation for indigent litigants in civil cases           

Minnesota Children’s Law Center, 1996-1998, represented children in State ward/Children in Need of Protective Services cases

Hennepin County and Minnesota State Bar Associations, 1980-present

  • Co-Chair, Juvenile Law Committee, 1990-1995
  • Member, Family Law Committee, 1985
  • Member, Task Force for Unmarried Parents, 2003
  • Minnesota Lavender Bar Association, 2011–Present


Continuing Legal Education courses, particularly involving juvenile and family law.  Articles about Juvenile Court and parentage proceedings:

  • Hennepin Lawyer, "Overview (10 years) of Juvenile Court," May-June 1990
  • Hennepin Lawyer, “Role of Public Defender in Family Court,” Oct. 1996
  • Hennepin Family Law Section Newsletter, "Role of the Public Defender," Mar. 1997
  • StarTribune, Front page (Metro Section) Editorial, “Two Days Was an Eon when Mom was Taken” (Victim’s son’s Perspective on Crime), Dec. 28, 2003
  • Hennepin Lawyer, “Family Court: A Public-Private Partnership to Serve Families in Transition,” May, 2010


Allies for Justice Award, Headwaters Fund, June 2002
Volunteer Lawyer of the Month, Volunteer Lawyer’s Network, 1998
Peer Recognition Award for Volunteer Service, Hamline University Law School, 1994


Civil, March 9, 2020 - Nov. 22, 2022

Juvenile, August 6, 2012 - March 6, 2020

  • Presiding Judge, July 1, 2016 - March 6, 2020
  • Assistant Presiding Judge, May 1, 2014 - June 30, 2016

Criminal, June 16, 2011 - August 2, 2012