Welch has served as a judge for 16 years. He was elected to Division N of the 19th Judicial District Court in 1995 and served three consecutive terms on the district bench. He was elected to the First Circuit Court of Appeal in 2005 and currently serves in that position. Prior to serving as judge, Welch was an Assistant Attorney General protecting consumers against fraud. He was a prosecutor in Zachary and served as an attorney for 14 years.
Welch was also elected to the Baker City Council where he served two terms, and was on the East Baton Rouge Metro Council before becoming a judge. Welch is a graduate of Baker High School and a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the University of Maryland with a B.S. degree in business management. He received his Juris Doctorate from the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center. Welch earned a Masters Degree in Judicial Studies at the University of Reno in Nevada. He is currently pursuing a Masters of Law (LLM) degree from the Pepperdine University. He has also served as a legal professor at both LSU and Southern Law Schools.
Welch is a member of the American Bar Association International Courts Committee, Louisiana Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics, the Louisiana Supreme Court Trial Court Task Force, the Conference of Court of Appeal Judges, the Louisiana State Bar Association and the Baton Rouge Bar Association. He served as treasurer of the Conference of Court of Appeal Judges (2007), President of the American INNS of Court for two terms and he was selected to the Louisiana Supreme Court Leadership Program in 2011. Welch is a 2010 inductee to the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame.
Welch enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1972, served at NATO Communications, and received an Honorable Discharge in 1977. Judge Duke Welch has been married for 40 years to Roxson Stapleton Welch. Together they have three children and 10 grandchildren. Qualifications opened Wednesday, Aug. 15 and closed Friday, Aug. 17. The election is set for Nov. 6. and a runoff election is set for Dec. 1. Welch is seeking the seat being vacated by former Chief Justice Kitty Kimball who announced her retirement after 20 years on the court.