Jeff graduated from Madison High School in 1979, South Dakota State University in 1988, and the University of South Dakota School of Law in 1992.
Jeff joined a prominent Sioux Falls law firm as an associate in 1992 and became a partner in 1996. He co-founded Northern Plains Justice, LLP with attorney Bill Sims in January 2018.
Jeff's legal career has been diverse, but is now primarily focused on trials and litigation. Jeff has been lead counsel or co-counsel on several major litigation matters in the past several years. He has been in private practice since 1992, and was also a part-time prosecutor, having been appointed Turner County State's Attorney in 1995. He won election to that office in 1996 and re-election in 2000. Jeff did not run for re-election in 2004.
Jeff has tried to verdict over 30 jury trials and has tried hundreds of court trials. Jeff has also briefed and argued seven reported cases to the South Dakota Supreme Court and one reported case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, including Ward v. Lange, 553 N.W.2d 246 (S.D. 1996), Engelhart v. Kramer, 570 N.W.2d 550 (S.D. 1997), Estate of Walter O'Keefe, 583 N.W.2d 138 (S.D. 1998), Even v. City of Parker, 597 N.W.2d 670 (S.D. 1999), City of Marion v. Schoenwald, 631 N.W.2d 213 (S.D. 2001), Fink v. Dakotacare, 324 F.3d 685 (8th Cir. 2003), Bienash v. Moller, 721 N.W.2d 431 (S.D. 2006), and Estate of Duebendorfer, 721 N.W.2d 438 (S.D. 2006).
Jeff was trial counsel for clients who intervened in another noteworthy reported case, Livestock Marketing v. U.S Dept. of Agriculture, 207 F.Supp.2d 992 (D.S.D. 2002), a case that ended up in the United States Supreme Court, with Mr. Cole's client ultimately prevailing.
Jeff is a member of the American Association for Justice, South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association and South Dakota Bar Association.