Trial Team Earns Honorable Mention in California

USD School of Law Trial Team consisting of Briana Lear, Kayla Clark, Edward Edmonds, and Andrew Magner earned Honorable Mention for their “impressive and outstanding performance” at the California Attorneys for Justice & Hastings College of Law National Criminal Trial Advocacy Invitational Competition held in San Francisco, CA, the weekend of October 13-16, 2016.

This elite competition, which is in its 8th year, invites annually only 22 of “the best trial advocacy programs in the nation to compete.”   This is the second straight year that the USD School of Law has been invited to compete.

The competition rounds are held at the United States District Court in San Francisco. USD Law’s team was coached by Professor Tom Horton, Professor Ramon Ortiz, and Dean and Professor Emeritus Barry Vickrey.  The University of Pacific McGeorge School of law, which defeated USD in a hard fought round, went on to place second behind the Whittier Law School in the championship round.


Left to Right: Andrew Magner, Kayla Clark, Brianna Lear, and Edward Edmonds


Professor of Law Pommersheim Receives Humanities Award

University of South Dakota Professor of Law Frank Pommersheim recently received the Distinguished Achievement for the Humanities award from the South Dakota Humanities Council. The award is in recognition of scholarship in the field of advocacy for the humanities and civic engagement. He was one of four recognized at the South Dakota Festival of Books Sponsored by the South Dakota Humanities Council.

Honorees of the award demonstrate a commitment to communicate humanities-related events and programs, write books and publications important to the humanities, and provide funding or partnerships to sustain a vibrant cultural landscape. Pommersheim fits all three categories.

Pommersheim is one of the few people in the state known for leading community-wide discussions regarding tribal relations; he has been tapped by the Humanities Council in prior years to present on the topics of tribal sovereignty, tribal relations, and Indian relations. For example, in 2014, he spoke in both Sioux Falls and Vermillion on a reflection of Indian relations on South Dakota’s 125th Anniversary. His experiences and scholarship in Indian Law have been reflected most recently in his book, Tribal Justice: 25 Years as a Tribal Appellate Justice.

“The good thing about the Humanities Council is that it establishes avenues of communications between Indian peoples and non-Indians. There are very few forums were Indians and non-Indians come together to discuss issues; one of the predicates of any solution is engagement. When races don’t have interaction, the gap in communication grows larger and is filled by negative stereotypes.”


Professor of Law Frank Pommersheim (second from right)

Pommersheim was also recognized for his artistic abilities in the field of poetry. Most past or present USD Law students can testify that he is renowned for starting lectures with a poem about Buddha. He has previously published chapbooks containing his poems about eastern philosophy. Those familiar with his chapbooks may have taken note of the beautiful cover art. A little know fact is that USD School of Law Registration Officer Teresa Carlislie creates the cover artwork.

The third Buddha poem chapbook is expected to be published sometime this upcoming spring. Readers consist mainly former students, friends, members of the bar, poetry enthusiasts, and people from Pommersheim’s past.

When asked where he got the inspiration for the Buddha themed poems, Pommersheim replied, “It all started when I was daydreaming about eight years ago about Buddha sending an email.” Email from Buddha was his first poem of the series. Positive feedback propelled him to continue on.

Eastern philosophy poetry, academic scholarship in Indian Law, and engaging communities wedged apart by negative stereotypes and intolerance are a few of the many reasons why Professor of Law Frank Pommersheim was awarded the Distinguished Achievement for the Humanities.

Strategies for Landing a Judicial Clerkship

Wednesday, 11/16 – 12 pm – School of Law Room 101

The editors of the South Dakota Law Review and the USD School of Law Career Services department are coming together to showcase the application process for judicial clerkships. All students interested in applying for a judicial clerkship are highly encouraged to attend. Current students who have received clerkships will discuss the ins and outs of application process and offer candid advice for prospective applicants.

Lunch provided for event attendees!

If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 48 hours before the event. Any additional questions on concerns, contact


1L Internship Information Session

Friday, 11/18 – 10:00 am – School of Law Room 1011l-internship-information-session

USD School of Law Career Services will host an event to assist 1L students in landing their first legal internship. The purpose of the event is to speak about the overall legal internship process, identify potential internship opportunities, and offer tips and suggestions in drafting cover letters, resumes, and writing samples. The event will also discuss the upcoming Spring 1L On-Campus-Interviews. 

If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 48 hours before the event. Any additional questions on concerns, contact 


Moot Court Team Places 2nd in National Tournament

Alyssa Hanisch, Seth Lopour, and Ashley Brost participated in the Leroy Hassell, Sr. National Constitutional Law Moot Court Tournament October 14th-15th in Virginia Beach. Law school students from around the nation participate in this competition and receive key insights from distinguished judges, attorneys, and professors to improve their oral and written advocacy skills. The USD Moot Court Team placed second overall!


Alyssa Hanisch (2L), Seth Lopour (3L), & Ashley Brost (3L)

In the final round, the team faced a seven-judge panel, including justices from the Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Virginia Supreme Courts. Professor Hannah Haksgaard accompanied the team and will now be traveling with all teams to all tournaments.

If you are interested in learning more about Moot Court, stop by the Moot Court Offices at USD School of Law.