US News: USD Law Students Carry Less Debt

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Graduates of the University of South Dakota School of Law incur far less debt than most other law schools: $57,170 after three years in 2015 compared with an average of $112,748, U.S. News found.

The magazine added USD to its US News Short List of those schools among 183 that were ranked because students graduate with less than $70,000 in debt, on average. USD’s law school ranked second-to-last in debt load. The list is separate from the publication’s overall rankings.

“This latest list once again recognizes the value that USD law provides its students,” said Tom Geu, dean of the USD School of Law. “We continue to provide a world-class legal education while paying careful attention to cost.”

USD is ranked fifth nationally in the percentage of its students who earn judicial clerkships at combined local, state and federal levels. As South Dakota’s only law school, USD grants degrees to most of its lawyers and judges. More than 85 percent of USD’s 2015 graduates are employed at law firms, in business, government or elsewhere. And it offers nine joint degrees that give law students the chance to earn a master’s degree with their J.D. in business administration, professional accountancy, educational administration, English, history, political science, public administration, psychology and administrative studies.


20 Named to USD School of Law Dean’s List

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VERMILLION, S.D. — Twenty University of South Dakota School of Law students were named to the Spring 2016 dean’s list.

To qualify, students must achieve either a GPA of 85.00 or greater for that semester or rate in the top 10 percent of their class for that semester, whichever group is smaller. The list is not based on cumulative grade point average, and first semester, first-year law students are not eligible.

The students and their hometowns:

  • Maggie K. Cockburn, Cherokee, Iowa
  • Sterling J. Nielsen, Northfield, Minnesota
  • Clifton J. Kephart, Billings, Montana
  • Terra Fisher, Miles City, Montana
  • Trinette LaFleur, Dakota Dunes, South Dakota
  • Britni A. Summers, Flandreau, South Dakota
  • Carl F. Haberstick, Huron, South Dakota
  • Rachel E. Mairose, Kimball, South Dakota
  • Laura E. Hodson, Martin, South Dakota
  • Brigid C. Hoffman, Rapid City, South Dakota
  • Elliot Bloom, Scenic, South Dakota
  • Ashley Blake, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • Sarah Christopherson, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • Kelly M. Maxwell, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • Ryan Redd, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • Nicholas Koontz, Sturgis, South Dakota
  • Alexis Yackley, Vermillion, South Dakota
  • Jennifer M. Michlitsch, Webster, South Dakota
  • Lori K. Goad, Denton, Texas
  • Jarell Dillman, Eagle Mountain, Utah