USD Law Sam Masten Tournament: Jacquelyn Wilson Winner

The annual USD School of Law’s Sam Masten Moot Court Tournament concluded on March 27th, 2017, with the final round held in the USD School of Law courtroom. Named after Samuel W. Masten (USD Law ’46) a beloved litigator in South Dakota, the tournament consisted of thirty-two participating first-year law students presenting oral arguments in a hypothetical case, where each student had researched and prepared an appellate brief. Each first-year student then presented their arguments before volunteer judges including the Moot Court Board, alumni of USD School of Law, attorneys, judges and faculty.

Jacquelyn Wilson of Lemmon, South Dakota, became this year’s Sam Masten champion, narrowly defeating Kate Vietor, from Lennox, South Dakota. The final round was argued in the Law School Courtroom before members of the South Dakota Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, and state circuit court Judges.


Jacquelyn Wilson, final round arguments

“The Sam Masten tournament allows the first-year students to take what they have learned in the Fundamental Legal Skills course and apply it in a real-world setting,” said Branden Nethken, President of the Moot Court Board. “There are very few law schools in the nation in which first-year students get to present oral arguments before practicing lawyers, judges, and justices.”

Best Brief Awards were also given to Hannah Purtell and Tracy Miller.


Hannah Purtell, Professor Hess, Tracy Miller, Professor McKey

The Sioux Falls law firm of Woods, Fuller, Shultz & Smith hosted a reception, open to all students, faculty, staff and others who helped or participated, immediately following the final round.


Two USD Law Students Attend National Indian Law Moot Court Tournament at UCLA

The National Native American Law Student Association (NNALSA), in partnership with the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law (UCLA) and the UCLA Chapter of NALSA, hosted the 25th Annual NNALSA Moot Court Competition on March 8th. The Moot Court Competition featured 64 teams from 30 schools from across the country. Jessica FourBear (3L) and Moreau FourBear (2L) represented the University of South Dakota School of Law as two of the 128 brilliant up-and-coming legal minds in Indian law.

At the tournament, prestigious Indian law attorneys, judges, and professors from around the nation volunteered to critique participants’ briefs and oral advocacy skills. These Moot Court participants traveled from every corner of the nation to compete.

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Dean & Professor of Law Emeritus Barry Vickery (left) and Moreau FourBear (right)

The Moot Court problem related to the Indian Reorganization Act and involved how the Secretary of the Interior inappropriately applied the act in placing Indian lands into trust. Moreau FourBear noted that the issue was multifaceted as it had administrative law aspects in tandem to the overarching Indian law issues. “We had to argue whether the Secretary had proper authority to place land in trust and whether the decision was arbitrary and capricious.”

The USD team received high marks for their off-brief, and notable comments from judges on their professionalism and mastery of the caselaw. Although they did not make it into the final rounds, Jessica FourBear said that, “We utilized every skill in advocacy taught by professors at USD–like Professors Horton, Hutton, Pommersheim, Hess, and McKey–and the judges were impressed. Unfortunately, our brief score was a bit lower than we needed to break the top 16.”

In order to prepare, the USD team spent a substantial amount of time researching their Moot Court problem and practicing their oral advocacy with USD professors. Dean & Professor of Law Emeritus Barry Vickery acted as the team’s coach and provided guidance to the team. However, as Vickery was in California, the team had to give practice oral arguments to Vickery over Skype. Professors of Law Hutton and Pommersheim also helped provide assistance by critiquing the team’s oral arguments in the formal courtroom setting.

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Moreau FourBear (2L), Jessica FourBear (3L), Dean & Professor of Law Emeritus Vickery (far right)

Both Jessica and Moreau believed that the preparation and tournament itself was an almost overwhelming amount of work, but was worthwhile to receive high praise from their judges and compete against the best in the nation.

If any students are interested in attending the 26th NNALSA Moot Court Competition, please join the local USD NALSA group or speak with Jessica or Moreau FourBear for more information.



Law Students Bring Home 3rd Place Win in Regional Transactional Law

Four USD School of Law students participated in LawMeet National Transactional Tournaments on February 24th. USD Law sent two teams to compete in different Regional Tournaments.

Team 1: Branden Nethken (2L) and Ryan Redd (3L) competed in Dallas, Texas (Region 6 Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law).

And team 2: Anna Limoges (3L) and Britni Summers (2L) competed in Denver, Colorado (Region 7 University of Denver Sturm College of Law website).


Anna Limoges (left) Britni Summers (right)

Participants were judged by panels of experts from transactional law practices from across the nation. Decisions were reached on how each team most adeptly negotiated a draft of certain provisions of an agreement. These negotiations required students to combine numerous lawyering skills like drafting, marking-up, various negotiating techniques, in-depth knowledge of corporate law and other facets of business law to develop innovative solutions to a legal problem.

Anna Limoge and Brittni Summers took home third place in Region 7.

The National Transactional LawMeet is the premier “moot court” experience for students interested in a transactional practice. The National Transactional LawMeet is a part of the LawMeet family of live, interactive, educational competitions designed to give law students a hands-on experience in developing and honing transactional lawyering skills.

Recent Law Review Editor-in-Chief Now Associate Attorney in Neb.

Jacobsen, Orr, Lindstrom & Holbrook, P.C., L.L.O. of Kearney, Nebraska, recently announced the addition of Elizabeth Chrisp (J.D. 2015) as an associate attorney.


Liz Chrisp

Liz received her dual Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice and Political Science, with Honors, from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 2010 and is a 2015 Sterling Honors graduate from the University of South Dakota School of Law, where she graduated second in her class. Liz is native to the Kearney area, having graduated from Elwood High School, and she currently resides in Amherst.

While in law school, Liz served as Editor-in-Chief of the South Dakota Law Review, competed in a national trial team tournament in Puerto Rico, and served as graduate assistant to the Dean and writing professors where she assisted in legal writing instruction and individually tutored first-year law students. She was the recipient of multiple academic and writing scholarships and twelve Deans Awards for Academic Achievement which are awarded to the student with the highest grade in each course.