About Circuit Court Clerk David L. Nicholson

A high-energy individual with a passion for public service, David L. Nicholson has spent his life — both professionally and personally — helping others and striving to improve the lives of his fellow citizens.

Mr. Nicholson, a lifelong resident of Louisville, Ky., was elected Jefferson County Circuit Court Clerk in 2006 and re-elected in 2012 and 2018.

The Office of the Circuit Court Clerk is a constitutional office that is part of the Kentucky Court of Justice. The core business of the office is to serve as custodian of all Circuit, Family and District court records in Jefferson County. In addition, the office processes Kentucky driver’s licenses and identification cards in partnership with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Kentucky State Police.

Mr. Nicholson’s office employs 316 deputy clerks who work in six locations across the county, processing approximately 91,000 new court cases and 141,000 driver’s licenses each year.

The Jefferson County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office serves the largest jurisdiction in Kentucky’s unified court system and its only true urban court system, operating 24/7/365 service. His office has annual revenue of approximately $26 million.

Under his leadership, his office has:

  • Opened a consolidated Domestic Violence Intake Center, which operates around the clock every day of the year.
  • Been instrumental in bringing technology to the courts, including electronic case filing (eFiling) and other Internet-based systems.
  • Opened a long-overdue driver’s license branch in West Louisville for underserved citizens of the community.
  • Implemented the practice of using metrics to measure office throughput and develop data-driven operational strategy.
  • Invested in ongoing employee development and training, and advanced promoting from within the organization.

Mr. Nicholson is actively involved in several local, state and national organizations, including serving as a member of the Board of Directors of Kosair Charities. A past President of the Kentucky Association of Circuit Court Clerks (KACCC) as well as the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo), he is a current member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Counties (NACo) and serves as a Vice Chair of the Courts and Corrections Subcommittee for the Justice and Public Safety Steering Committee and as a member of the NACo Audit Committee and its Large Urban County Caucus (LUCC). A longtime advocate for domestic violence survivors and a supporter of efforts to reduce the occurrence of domestic violence in our community, Mr. Nicholson is a former Board member of the Center for Women and Families.

In addition, he is a 2012 graduate of the prestigious County Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C.

Prior to becoming Circuit Court Clerk, Mr. Nicholson served as the Executive Director of the Louisville Metro Criminal Justice Commission from 1998 to 2006. As head of that organization, he supervised the planning, research and systemwide coordination of initiatives to help Louisville’s first responders (police/fire/emergency medical services) keep our community safe. Under his leadership, the commission received millions of dollars in state and federal public safety grants including an unprecedented multimillion dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He joined the Criminal Justice Commission in 1991.

Mr. Nicholson graduated from Ballard High School, worked summers on the assembly line at the Ford Truck Plant, earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., and attended the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala.

His roots in our community run as deep as his commitment to public service. He is the youngest of four children and the brother of retired Jefferson County District Judge James C. “Jimmy” Nicholson. Mr. Nicholson credits his late father, Jefferson County Circuit Judge S. Rush Nicholson, for stressing the importance of public service and community involvement.

Mr. Nicholson and his wife Debra have instilled in their two children the honor of service to others. His daughter Sara Michael is a sitting District Court Judge in Jefferson County, and his son Samuel is a practicing attorney representing victims of employment discrimination.