University of South Dakota School of Law

The University of South Dakota School of Law also known as University of South Dakota Knudson School of Law or USD Law in Vermillion, South Dakota, United States, is a professional school of the University of South Dakota and the only law school in the state of South Dakota. Established in 1901, by U.S. Ambassador Bartlett Tripp and U.S. Senator Thomas Sterling. The law school is home to approximately 168 students and has more than 3,000 alumni. With 168 J.D. candidates, it is currently the second-smallest law school and smallest public law school student population among the American Bar Association accredited law schools.[4]

University of South Dakota
Knudson School of Law
USD Law logo.png
Coat of Arms of the School of Law
MottoVeritas
Parent schoolUniversity of South Dakota
Established1901; 121 years ago (1901)
School typePublic law school
Parent endowment$401.5 million[1]
DeanNeil Fulton[2][3]
LocationVermillion, South Dakota, U.S.
42°47′11″N 96°55′39″W / 42.78639°N 96.92750°W / 42.78639; -96.92750Coordinates: 42°47′11″N 96°55′39″W / 42.78639°N 96.92750°W / 42.78639; -96.92750
Enrollment168 J.D. candidates[4]
Faculty20
USNWR ranking133rd (2023)[5]
Bar pass rate82.8%
Websitewww.usd.edu/law
ABA profileUniversity of South Dakota School of Law Profile
University of South Dakota logo.svg

The University of South Dakota School of Law has produced 8 Governors of South Dakota including as well as other key figures important to the development of the state, many judges of the South Dakota Supreme Court and the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota, 13 members of the U.S. Congress, 19 Attorneys General of South Dakota, and 14 U.S. Attorneys for the District of South Dakota, earning it the nickname "the Alma Mater of the State."

HistoryEdit

Law School Founders
U.S. Senator
Thomas Sterling
U.S. Ambassador
Bartlett Tripp
Sterling served as school's first dean from 1901-1911. Tripp served as the first professor until his death in 1911.

1901-1911 (The Sterling Years)Edit

The University of South Dakota College of Law was founded in 1901. Thomas Sterling served as the law school's first dean until 1911 when he left to become the third U.S. Senator from South Dakota. During the Sterling years, the law school proved successful in developing attorneys for the new state. In fact, by the time Sterling was in Congress, two of his earliest graduates William Williamson and Royal C. Johnson were Congressmen themselves. Before Sterling and the College of Law, the few lawyers there were, came from eastern states or read law for admission into the bar.

Along with Sterling, U.S. Ambassador to Austria Bartlett Tripp, was an integral part of establishing the school. Tripp was returning to South Dakota from his diplomatic post in Austria at the turn of the century. Tripp had been initially considered to be the running mate of President William McKinley, his friend and Albany Law School classmate, but was overlooked in lieu of then-Governor of New York Teddy Roosevelt. With no other political opportunities left to him, Tripp devoted his full attention to establishing the College of Law. He played many roles in the law school, not only was he the school's first taxation and constitutional law professor but he had served as President of the first bar association, the Constitutional Convention of South Dakota & the commission to codify South Dakota's laws, as well as the last Chief Justice of the Dakota Territory Supreme Court. Tripp and his son-in-law Charles Hall Dillon, a fellow professor, provided much of the law library's contents and upon Tripp's death donated much of his estate to the College of Law. It is speculated that had William McKinley not overlooked him for Vice President of the United States the College of Law may not have been founded as soon as it was. Thomas Sterling's 1911 departure was partly led by the death of his friend and colleague Bartlett Tripp.

1911-1984Edit

 
U.S. congressional delegation from South Dakota for the 87th Congress contained three alumni from the class of 1927: Rep. E.Y. Berry, Sen. Joseph Bottum, and Rep. Harold Lovre.

In 1911, Marshall McKusick became the school's second and subsequent longest-serving dean, serving until his death in 1950. The 1927 class proved to be one of the strongest classes in USD Law history, producing Frank Biegelmeier, George T. Mickelson, E.Y. Berry, Joseph Bottum, and Harold Lovre. A stronger class did not come until 1975, when USD Law produced Steven L. Zinter, David Gilbertson, Glen A. Severson, Steve T. Kirby, and Tim Johnson. In 1982, the College of Law moved from its then-82-year-old building to a new building and was renamed the 'School of Law'. During this period the law school was led by the 11th Deputy Attorney General of the United States from the Nixon Administration, Ralph E. Erickson.

1984-2016Edit

In 1984, South Dakota Supreme Court abolished the nearly century old practice of diploma privilege, which previously admitted School of Law graduates into South Dakota bar without examination.[6] Also in 1984, Camden 28 member and Indian Law scholar Frank Pommersheim joined the faculty. From 1993 until 2011 Barry Vickrey, a Vanderbilt law alumnus, served as Dean of the School of Law. During Vickrey's tenure, noted federalist professor Patrick Garry joined the faculty in 2003. Former CEO of the Mayo Clinic, Mike Myers served on the faculty as an elder law professor. Myers, known for his eccentric behavior, resigned in 2012 and ran for Governor of South Dakota in the next election. In 2013, Thomas Earl Geu a Nebraska law alumnus, was hired from his previous position of interim dean into full dean.[7]

2016-presentEdit

In June 2017, George "Mark" Mickelson, son and grandson of alumnus George S. Mickelson and George T. Mickelson chaired the USD Law Task Force to determine if the location of the School of Law should be moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.[8] The USD Law Task Force voted 8–5 to keep the School of Law in Vermilion, South Dakota, but would develop non-degree programs there. On March 20, 2018, Thomas Geu announced his intentions to resign as dean of the School of Law.[9] Neil Fulton, the Federal Public Defender for the District of South Dakota and District of North Dakota, became the new dean of the School of Law.[10]

On May 15, 2020, the council of the American Bar Association's Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar met remotely and determined this school and nine others had significant noncompliance with Standard 316.[11] This Standard was revised in 2019 to provide that at least 75% of an accredited law school's graduates who took a bar exam must pass one within two years of graduation.[11] The school was asked to submit a report by Feb. 1, 2021; and, if the council did not find the report demonstrated compliance, the school would be asked to appear before the council at its May, 2021 meeting.[11] On February 26, 2021, the ABA’s council posted that the school was now in compliance with the standard.[12]

Demographics and rankingsEdit

Admission is competitive; for the class entering in the fall of 2010, 220 out of 449 J.D. applicants were offered admission (48.9%), with 75 matriculating. They came from 46 colleges and 14 states. 58% percent were South Dakota residents, 42% were female, and 9% minorities. The 25th, 50th, and 75th percentile LSAT scores and GPAs for the class were 150/153/156 and 3.18/3.44/3.73 respectively.[13] The U.S. News & World Report law school rankings placed South Dakota at 65th of the law schools in the U.S. in 2010.[14] In 2013, The National Jurist listed South Dakota Law in the top 5 schools for "Best Value."[15] In 2013, The National Law Journal listed South Dakota Law #5 for employment in the government and Public Interest sector,[16] as the law school alumni populates many of the prominent government positions within the state.

The U.S. News & World Report placed South Dakota at 128 of 215 law schools in the U.S. in 2018 and in 2019.[17] For the 2020 U.S. News & World Report law school rankings placed South Dakota as the 39th best public law school.[18] University of South Dakota School of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. According to South Dakota's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 60.6% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation, making it the best in the region with the exception of the University of Minnesota Law School.[19] Within the state of South Dakota, it is widely regarded as the most historically significant and venerable educational institution due to its long-time role of producing most of the lawyers of the state.[8]

Noted FacultyEdit

CurrentEdit

FormerEdit

Noted alumniEdit

The University of South Dakota School of Law has historically produced a number of noted alumni among which include eight governors, thirteen members of the U.S. congressional delegation from South Dakota, nineteen state attorneys general, thirteen U.S. Attorneys, twenty-eight state supreme court justices, and twelve federal judges including the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, Roger Leland Wollman and the Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota, Jeffrey L. Viken. Notably, a graduate of the school of law has held the office of South Dakota Attorney General uninterrupted since 1959.

Currently, USD law alumni head two of South Dakota's branches of government Brian Gosch as Majority Leader of the South Dakota House of Representatives and Chief Justice David Gilbertson of the South Dakota Supreme Court. Current members of the executive branch include Lieutenant Governor Matt Michels, Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, and Chief of staff Tony Venhuizen.

AcademiaEdit

James W. Abbott J.D. 1974 President of the University of South Dakota 1997–present.
Harvey Jewett J.D. 1973 President of South Dakota Board of Regents 1997-2017

Attorneys GeneralEdit

Royal Johnson L.L.B. 1906 8th Attorney General of South Dakota
Clarence C. Caldwell L.L.B. 1906 9th Attorney General of South Dakota.
Buell F. Jones L.L.B. 11th Attorney General of South Dakota.
Merrel Sharpe L.L.B. 1914 12th Attorney General of South Dakota.
D. Walter Conway L.L.B. 13th Attorney General of South Dakota.
George Mickelson L.L.B. 1927 16th Attorney General of South Dakota.
Sigurd Anderson L.L.B. 1937 17th Attorney General of South Dakota.
Parnell J. Donahue L.L.B. 1938 20th Attorney General of South Dakota.
Albert C. Miller L.L.B. 21st Attorney General of South Dakota.
Frank Farrar L.L.B. 1953 22nd Attorney General of South Dakota.
Gordon Mydland L.L.B. 1948 23rd Attorney General of South Dakota.
Kermit Sande J.D. 1968 24th Attorney General of South Dakota.
William Janklow J.D. 1966 25th Attorney General of South Dakota and petitioner in South Dakota v. Opperman and Reeves, Inc. v. Stake.
Mark V. Meierhenry J.D. 1970 26th Attorney General of South Dakota and petitioner in Solem v. Helm and Solem v. Bartlett.
Roger Tellinghuisen J.D. 1978 27th Attorney General of South Dakota and petitioner in South Dakota v. Dole.
Mark Barnett J.D. 1978 28th Attorney General of South Dakota and petitioner in South Dakota v. Bourland.
Larry Long J.D. 1972 29th Attorney General of South Dakota, Judge of 2nd Circuit Court of South Dakota.
Marty Jackley J.D. 1995 30th Attorney General of South Dakota and petitioner in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc.
Jason Ravnsborg J.D. 2001 31st Attorney General of South Dakota.

BusinessEdit

Roswell Bottum L.L.B. 1924 chief counsel to Reconstruction Finance Corporation
Joe Robbie L.L.B. 1946 founder-owner of the Miami Dolphins, 1966–1990.
Frank Farrar L.L.B. 1953 founder, owner, and chairman of First Savings Bank.
Mike Myers J.D. 1967 CEO of Mayo Clinic and board director of Minnesota Blue Cross Blue Shield
Harvey C. Jewett IV J.D. 1973 CEO of Super 8 Motels
John Porter J.D. 1974 CEO of Avera Health.
Steve T. Kirby J.D. 1975 co-founder of Bluestem Capital.
Ross Dupper J.D. 1982 President & CEO of Porsche North America, Inc.

Governors and Lieutenant GovernorsEdit

John T. Grigsby L.L.B 1903 Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota and member of the prominent Kingsbury family.
Leslie Jensen L.L.B. 1921 15th Governor of South Dakota
Merrell Q. Sharpe L.L.B. 1914 17th Governor of South Dakota.
George T. Mickelson L.L.B. 1927 18th Governor of South Dakota and 1952 U.S. Presidential Candidate
Albert C. Miller L.L.B. 1924 22nd Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota
Joseph H. Bottum L.L.B. 1927 27th Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota, and presiding Judge of the Fifth Circuit Court of South Dakota.
Lem Overpeck L.L.B. 1936 29th Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota.
Sigurd Anderson L.L.B. 1937 19th Governor of South Dakota.
Frank L. Farrar L.L.B. 1953 24th Governor of South Dakota.
George S. Mickelson J.D. 1965 28th Governor of South Dakota.
William J. Janklow J.D. 1966 27th and 30th Governor of South Dakota.
Steve Kirby J.D. 1975 35th Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota.
Matt Michels J.D. 1985 38th Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota.

State Court of Appeals JudgesEdit

Daryl Hecht J.D. 1977 Judge, Iowa Court of Appeals.

State Supreme Court JusticesEdit

Charles R. Hayes L.L.B. Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
Charles R. Hanson L.L.B. Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
James M. Doyle L.L.B. Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
Fred R. Winans L.L.B. Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
Jon Fosheim L.L.B. 1943 Chief Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
Frank Biegelmeier L.L.B. 1927 Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
Alex Rentto L.L.B. 1933 Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
Francis G. Dunn L.L.B. 1937 Chief Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
Fred J. Homeyer L.L.B. 1942 Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
Donald J. Porter L.L.B. 1943 Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
George W. Wuest L.L.B. 1949 Chief Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
Robert E. Morgan L.L.B. 1950 Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
Oren P. Coler L.L.B. 1952 Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
Frank Henderson L.L.B. 1952 Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
Boyd Leedom L.L.B. 1955 Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
Roger L. Wollman J.D. 1962 Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
Richard W. Sabers J.D. 1963 Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
Robert A. Miller J.D. 1963 Chief Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
Laurence J. Zastrow J.D. 1970 Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
John K. Konenkamp J.D. 1974 Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
Steven L. Zinter J.D. 1975 current Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
David Gilbertson J.D. 1975 current Chief Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
Glen A. Severson J.D. 1975 Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
Lori S. Wilbur J.D. 1977 Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
Judith Meierhenry J.D. 1977 Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
Daryl Hecht J.D. 1977 Justice, Iowa Supreme Court.
Steven R. Jensen J.D. 1988 current Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.
Mark Salter J.D. 1993 current Justice, South Dakota Supreme Court.

United States District AttorneysEdit

George Barnes Grigsby L.L.B. U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska under the T. Roosevelt Administration.
Leo P. Flynn L.L.B. 1934 27th U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota under the Truman Administration.
Clinton G. Richards L.L.B. 1928 28th U.S. Attorney, District of South Dakota under the Eisenhower Administration.
Harold C. Doyle L.L.B. 1951 29th U.S. Attorney, District of South Dakota under the Kennedy Administration.
William F. Clayton L.L.B. 1951 30th U.S. Attorney, District of South Dakota under the Nixon Administration.
David V. Vrooman L.L.B. 1956 31st U.S. Attorney, District of South Dakota under the Carter Administration.
Robert D. Hiaring J.D. 1968 32nd U.S. Attorney, District of South Dakota.
Jeff Viken J.D. 1977 33rd U.S. Attorney, District of South Dakota.
Philip N. Hogen J.D. 1970 34th U.S. Attorney, District of South Dakota, Commissioner of National Indian Gaming Commission.
Ted McBride J.D. 1978 37th U.S. Attorney, District of South Dakota under the Clinton Administration.
James E. McMahon J.D. 1977 38th U.S. Attorney, District of South Dakota under the Bush Administration.
Marty Jackley J.D. 1995 39th U.S. Attorney, District of South Dakota.
Randy Seiler J.D. 1980 41st U.S. Attorney, District of South Dakota under the Obama Administration and Trump Administration.
Ron A. Parsons Jr. J.D. 1997 42nd U.S. Attorney, District of South Dakota under the Trump Administration.

United States District CourtEdit

George Theodore Mickelson L.L.B. 1927 Judge, United States District Court for the District of South Dakota.
Fred Joseph Nichol L.L.B. 1936 Judge, U.S. District Court of for the District of South Dakota
Donald James Porter L.L.B. 1943 Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota.
Andrew Wendell Bogue L.L.B. 1947 Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota.
John Bailey Jones L.L.B. 1953 Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota.
Richard Battey L.L.B. 1953 Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota, presiding judge of 'Sue' Dinosaur Case.
Lawrence Leroy Piersol J.D. 1965 Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota.
Jeffrey Lynn Viken J.D. 1977 Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota.
William D. Gerdes J.D. 1979 Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota.
Daneta Wollmann J.D. 2003 Magistrate Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota.

United States Court of AppealsEdit

Roger Leland Wollman J.D. 1962 Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

United States House of RepresentativesEdit

George Barnes Grigsby L.L.B. U.S. Delegate from territory of Alaska.
William Williamson L.L.B. 1905 U.S. Representative from South Dakota.
Royal Cleaves Johnson L.L.B. 1906 U.S. Representative from South Dakota, and highly decorated WWI veteran while he was a member of Congress.
Ellis Yarnal Berry L.L.B. 1927 U.S. Representative from South Dakota.
Harold Lovre L.L.B. 1927 U.S. Representative from South Dakota.
Frank E. Denholm L.L.B. 1959 U.S. Representative from South Dakota.
Bill Janklow J.D. 1966 U.S. Representative from South Dakota.
James Abourezk J.D. 1966 U.S. Representative, author of the Indian Child Welfare Act, and first Lebanese-American member of Congress.
Tim Johnson J.D. 1975 U.S. Representative from South Dakota.

United States Tax CourtEdit

Diane Kroupa J.D. 1981 Judge, United States Tax Court and Chief Judge, Minnesota Tax Court

United States SenateEdit

Joseph H. Bottum L.L.B. 1927 U.S. Senator from South Dakota
James Abourezk J.D. 1966 U.S. Senator from South Dakota and first Arab-American member of Congress.
Tim Johnson J.D. 1975 U.S. Senator from South Dakota.

United States MilitaryEdit

Royal C. Johnson L.L.B. 1906 U.S. Lieutenant, Distinguished Service Cross recipient and Croix de Guerre with gold star from the Republic of France.
Leslie Jensen L.L.B. 1921 U.S. Colonel in Pacific Theater of WWII
George E. "Bud" Day L.L.B. 1949 U.S. Brigadier General, Medal of Honor recipient, most highly decorated military officer since Douglas MacArthur, and POW cell-mate with John McCain
Gregory J. Stoltenburg J.D. 1995 U.S. Lt. Colonel and current Presiding Judge of the Third Circuit Court of South Dakota, 2015–present.
Jason Ravnsborg J.D. 2001 U.S. Lt. Colonel, Bronze Star recipient and current and 31st Attorney General of South Dakota.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ As of June 30, 2016. "Financial Report FY 16" (PDF).
  2. ^ Kerzman, Lexi. "Neil Fulton named new Dean of USD Law School". volanteonline.com. The Volante (USD school paper).
  3. ^ Conlon, Shelly. "USD names former Gov. Rounds' chief of staff as new law school dean". argusleader.com. The Sioux Falls Argus Leader.
  4. ^ a b "J.D. Enrollment By School" (PDF). American Bar Association. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  5. ^ "University of South Dakota (Knudson)". U.S. News & World Report – Best Law Schools. Retrieved 5 May 2022.
  6. ^ South Dakota Codified Laws. West. pp. SD Sup Ct Rule 3 (1973), SDCL 16-16-6.1 (1983 Supp) (amended by 1983 SD Sess Laws ch 398 (Supreme Court Rule 82-25), repealed by 1987 SD Sess Laws ch 406 (Supreme Court Rule 86-32)).
  7. ^ June, Daniel,"USD Hires Their Interim Dean into Permanent Role"
  8. ^ a b Pfankuch, Bart. "University of South Dakota Law School facing challenges but seeing opportunities". capjournal.com. The Capitol Journal.
  9. ^ Raposa, Megan. "More change for USD law school as dean steps down". argusleader.com. Argus Leader.
  10. ^ "Neil Fulton Announced as University of South Dakota Law School Dean". University of South Dakota. March 13, 2019. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  11. ^ a b c "10 law schools are out of compliance with bar passage standard, ABA legal ed section says". Stephanie Francis Ward, ABA Journal, May 28, 2020. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  12. ^ "4 more law schools found to be in compliance with ABA's new bar passage standard". Stephanie Francis Ward, ABA Journal, March 1, 2021. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  13. ^ "A Brief Sketch" (PDF). University of South Dakota School of Law. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
  14. ^ "2010 Best Law Schools Ranked". usnews.com. US News & World Report. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
  15. ^ Best Value Law Schools, The National Jurist, retrieved May 5, 2014
  16. ^ "Best Law Schools for Government and Public Interest Career Placement". The National Law Journal. Retrieved May 11, 2014.,
  17. ^ "2018 Best Law Schools Ranked". usnews.com. US News & World Report. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Best Law Schools". usnews.com. U.S. News & World Report.
  19. ^ "Employment Statistics" (PDF).

External linksEdit