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State Bar of South Dakota - Executive Director

State Bar of South Dakota - Executive Director

The State Bar is a unified, integrated bar statutorily directed to obtain the cooperation of all the practicing lawyers in the state in the better administration of justice, and in maintaining a high standard of professional conduct at the bar, to furnish a legal entity through which the considered judgment of its members on matters affecting the judicial system of the state may be ascertained and made available to the courts and the Legislature, to uphold the honor of the profession of the law, to encourage adequate preparation for its practice, and to promote cordial intercourse among the members of the South Dakota Bar.  The State Bar is comprised of all lawyers licensed to practice in South Dakota including private practitioners, judges, government and legal services attorneys and corporate counsel.


The executive director serves as the secretary/treasurer and chief executive officer of the State Bar. The executive director is responsible for managing the affairs of the State Bar under the direction of the Bar Commission, which consists of the president, the president-elect and 13 commissioners. In addition to the executive director, the State Bar has five employees. Three of the employees work in the State Bar office in Pierre, South Dakota. The others work remotely from their homes in Sioux Falls and Rapid City. The executive director is responsible for supervising these employees. The executive director’s duties also include serving as lobbyist for the State Bar during the annual session of the SD Legislature and representing the State Bar’s interests on regulatory matters before the South Dakota Supreme Court.

The State Bar is affiliated with three nonprofit organizations: South Dakota CLE, Inc, which provides continuing legal education services to lawyers and judges; A2J, Inc., which helps low-income individuals obtain access to legal services; and the South Dakota Bar Foundation, which provides funding for various charitable activities. The executive director’s duties also include managing the affairs of these organizations under the direction of their respective boards of directors.

Additional duties may be found at: (see Article VI, Section 6.3).


  • Juris Doctorate from an ABA accredited law school, a member in good standing in all jurisdictions in which a license is held, and license from South Dakota within 6 months of employment.
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills, including the ability to foster and maintain relationships with a diverse group of Bar members, volunteers, court personnel, and legislative and executive branch personnel.
  • Ability to develop and manage budgets and provide Bar Commissioners with in-depth information on the finances of the State Bar and its affiliated entities.
  • Knowledge of volunteer boards and committees and how they operate.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Excellent organizational skills and the ability to manage a large volume of diverse priorities and conflicting goals.
  • Lobbying experience or familiarity with the governmental and/or legislative process is preferred but not required.
  • Must be able to spend a significant amount of time in Pierre, SD, particularly during the full legislative session.
  • Must be able to travel across South Dakota and other states to attend meetings.


This is a salaried (exempt) position with full benefit package including health, dental and retirement as a member of the South Dakota Retirement System.  Salary will DOE.  Minimum salary of $125,000, which may be increased due to qualifications and experience. The State Bar is an equal opportunity employer. 

To Apply

Download Application (MS Word) or (Adobe PDF), Download Non-Disclosure.  Interviews will occur in November of 2022, so we encourage applications to be submitted by October 31, 2022.   Applications should be submitted to:  Lisa Marso, South Dakota State Bar President, at

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