Chief Judge David R. Herndon, United States District Judge, Southern District of Illinois, graduated from Southern Illinois University School of Law in 1977. His trial practice spanned fourteen years between two firms, the St. Louis firm of Haley, Frederickson, Walsh and Herndon and the Wood River, Illinois firm of Lakin and Herndon, and consisted primarily of the representation of FELA plaintiffs. In 1991, he was appointed to the position of Associate Judge in Madison County, Illinois, where he remained until appointed to the federal bench by President Clinton in 1998. He is a member of the American Bar Association, serving on the Executive Committee of the Federal Trial Judges Division, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Missouri Bar Association, the Madison County Bar Association.

Judge Herndon, currently serves as Chief Judge of the district court and is a member of the Judicial Security Committee of the Judicial conferences. Together with James Lewis, he cofounded the Judge Joseph F. Cunningham Fellowship Program. He also serves on a committee of judges who read essays for the James Lewis Essay contest and scholarship program for the East St. Louis NAACP Branch.