Judge Gurley attended Creighton University and received a B.S. in business Economics and Public Policy from Indiana University. He received his law degree from the Drake University College of Law and has an MBA from the University of Colorado.
He is admitted to practice law in Colorado, Florida, Illinois and Montana. Upon graduating from law school he worked as a prosecutor in Florida before entering private practice in 1991. He practiced insurance defense from 1991-1994. From 1994-1997 he practiced criminal defense and civil litigation with Kidder, Gurley & Bennett in Tampa Bay. From 1997-2006 he practiced criminal defense and civil litigation with the Florida-based law firm of Carlson, Meissner & Gurley, opening their Grand Junction, Colorado office less than a year after relocating from Florida to Colorado with family in 1998. He was appointed to the bench by Governor Bill Owens in 2006.