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At A Glance

The University of South Dakota School of Law

Program Description: The mission of the University of South Dakota School of Law is to prepare the lawyers and judges who will administer the Federal, State, and American Indian Tribal justice systems in South Dakota and to provide a legal education to South Dakota residents, along with nonresidents who choose to attend the school, which will serve as a solid foundation for the practice of law or other professional careers anywhere in the world. Students at the Law School are a highly selective group that has demonstrated intellectual aptitude and personal characteristics desirable in the legal profession, including a desire to serve others. A primary objective of the Law School curriculum is to develop analytical and other skills that are fundamental for the legal profession. The faculty employ a variety of pedagogical techniques to achieve that objective, including Socratic dialogue, the case method, lecture, and simulation. The curriculum is designed to familiarize students with basic legal doctrines and to instill in them the values of the legal profession and the judicial system. Students also have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of co-curricular activities at local, regional, and national levels. These student activities complement the formal components of the curriculum and assist in the development of legal skills. Skill-building activities include, but are not limited to, participation in the South Dakota Law Review, the Sustainable Development Journal of Law, the Moot Court Board, the Client Counseling and Negotiation Board, and Trial Advocacy.

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The University of South Dakota School of Law's Full Profile

Program At a Glance

Total Program Enrollment 217
Incoming LSAT Scores (25th-75th Percentile) 146 - 153
Incoming GPA (25th-75th Percentile) 3.01 - 3.68
Bar Exam First Time Pass Rate 90.91%
Percent Employed (9 Months After Graduation) 89.0%
In State Tuition $13,288
Out of State Tuition $26,880

Overview

Overview

About The University of South Dakota School of Law

Program Description: The mission of the University of South Dakota School of Law is to prepare the lawyers and judges who will administer the Federal, State, and American Indian Tribal justice systems in South Dakota and to provide a legal education to South Dakota residents, along with nonresidents who choose to attend the school, which will serve as a solid foundation for the practice of law or other professional careers anywhere in the world. Students at the Law School are a highly selective group that has demonstrated intellectual aptitude and personal characteristics desirable in the legal profession, including a desire to serve others. A primary objective of the Law School curriculum is to develop analytical and other skills that are fundamental for the legal profession. The faculty employ a variety of pedagogical techniques to achieve that objective, including Socratic dialogue, the case method, lecture, and simulation. The curriculum is designed to familiarize students with basic legal doctrines and to instill in them the values of the legal profession and the judicial system. Students also have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of co-curricular activities at local, regional, and national levels. These student activities complement the formal components of the curriculum and assist in the development of legal skills. Skill-building activities include, but are not limited to, participation in the South Dakota Law Review, the Sustainable Development Journal of Law, the Moot Court Board, the Client Counseling and Negotiation Board, and Trial Advocacy.

Reviews

Despite being the only law school in the entire state, the School of Law and The University of South Dakota attract students from across the region, with nearly half of all those enrolled coming from out of state. Many students find their education “perfect for practice in rural America,” and others go on to larger urban practices, yet the cost of tuition is “fairly inexpensive.” “Having gone to a NY private school for undergrad and paying the private NY school price, when I got my first bill from USD I thought maybe they had left something major off,” says one student.The “mostly excellent” professors provide students with practical applications for the workplace and “focus on the real world more than just understanding case law and the bar exam materials.” There are very few professors who “don't care about actually teach­ing you in class, they just get through the material,” but for the most part, “all of the professors really care about your education at USD and are willing to meet outside of class to discuss exams or just to chat.” This “diverse, non-judgmental, reputable, and highly knowledgeable” faculty aptly maintains “a youthful and inexperienced cognizant approach when proffering to that particular audience,” and “more than make up for any of the limitations with resources.”There are no formal law specialization options at USD; students say that “specialization” here means taking a few “mostly overview courses” in Native American or environmental law, for which “there is no indication on your degree that you specialized in a particular field.” The administration helps by “supplanting our academic needs with a broad range of extern and internships, and facilitate our transition from layman to lawyer.”However, this same administration can often be unresponsive and “disorganized,” but hopefully the arrival of a new dean will help set it right. As a smaller school, “it's hard NOT to get to know your professors.” The professor that teaches criminal procedure and evidence trains police officers and “is one of the best teachers I have ever had,” according to one student. The civil procedure and insurance law professor is “nationally renowned in the area of ERISA,” and the Native American Law professor is on the Rosebud Supreme Court. “Not only that, but you can watch him read poetry on YouTube.”Understandably, the school has an excellent relationship with the state bar association, the Circuit Court, and the State Supreme Court, which convenes here every year. Unfortunately, Career Services and on-campus recruitment does not fare as well in the students’ opinions. There is “a constant anxiety over getting jobs because according to one student. Luckily, “there is a strong alumni” group that is willing to help students out when and where they can. “I think the school does the best with what it has,” says a 2L transfer student.

- The Princeton Review

Academics

Academics

Degree Programs Offered

Graduates Last Year: 61

Description: A program that prepares individuals for the independent professional practice of law, for taking state and national bar examinations, and for advanced research in jurisprudence. Includes instruction in the theory and practice of the legal system, including the statutory, administrative, and judicial components of civil and criminal law.

Job Opportunities:

Lawyers
Represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, or manage or advise clients on legal transactions. May specialize in a single area or may practice broadly in many areas of law.
Judicial Law Clerks
Assist judges in court or by conducting research or preparing legal documents.
Administrative Law Judges, Adjudicators, and Hearing Officers
Conduct hearings to recommend or make decisions on claims concerning government programs or other government-related matters. Determine liability, sanctions, or penalties, or recommend the acceptance or rejection of claims or settlements.
Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators
Facilitate negotiation and conflict resolution through dialogue. Resolve conflicts outside of the court system by mutual consent of parties involved.
Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates
Arbitrate, advise, adjudicate, or administer justice in a court of law. May sentence defendant in criminal cases according to government statutes or sentencing guidelines. May determine liability of defendant in civil cases. May perform wedding ceremonies.
Law Teachers, Postsecondary
Teach courses in law. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

Joint Degree Programs Offered

JD/MBA, JD/MPA(Professional Accountancy, JD/M Education Administration, JD/M English, JD/M History, JD/M Pol Sci, JD/M Public Administration), JD/M Psychology, JD/M Administrative Studies.

Faculty Information

Total Faculty 23
Full-Time Faculty 15
Deans, Librarians, and Others Who Teach 2
Part-Time Faculty 6
Faculty Gender 82% Male
17% Female
Student Teacher Ratio 14 : 1

Accreditation

Accredited by American Bar Association

Student Body

Student Body
Gender Breakdown 60% Male
40% Female
Student Diversity
Percentage
White 92%
Multi-racial 2%
Hispanic/Latino 1%
Ethnicity Unknown 0%
Black or African American 2%
Asian 2%
American Indian or Alaska Native 1%

Finance

Finance

Sticker Price

In-State

On-Campus Off-Campus
Stated Tuition $13,288 Same as On-Campus
Housing $6,264 N/A
Books N/A N/A
Total (before financial aid) $19,552 $13,288

Out-of-State

On-Campus Off-Campus
Stated Tuition $26,880 Same as On-Campus
Housing $6,264 N/A
Books N/A N/A
Total (before financial aid) $33,144 $26,880

Financial Aid

88% Graduate students receiving financial aid (loans and grants)

$26,312 Average financial aid amount

Admissions

Admissions

Application Information

Deadline for Regular Decision:

Average Age Admitted: 27

Application Fee: $35

Incoming Class

Exam Enrollment Type 25th - 75th Percentile
LSAT Full-Time 146 - 153
LSAT Total 146 - 153

The University of South Dakota School of Law's entering class of enrolled having these college GPA's:

Enrollment Type 25th - 75th Percentile
Full-Time 3.01 - 3.68
Total 3.01 - 3.68

Admission Considerations

Very Important: Undergraduate GPA, Personal Essay

Important: Recommendations

Admission Requirements

Required: Personal Essay, Recommendations, Undergraduate GPA, Standardized Test Scores

Optional: Extracurricular Activities, Interview, State Residency, Work Experience

Rankings

Rankings

U.S. News & World Report

Outcomes

Outcomes

Bar Exam Results

Percent Reporting 80%
First Time Pass Rate 91%
Avg. Pass Rate In This State 94%

Campus Recruitment

Number of Employers Recruiting on Campus 35
First Year Recruitment Time Summer
Second Year Recruitment Time Summer

Employment

Percent Employed (9 Months After Graduation) 89%
Average Starting Salary $46,000
Job Sector Number of Graduates Percent of Graduates
Firm Sized 2-10 15 22%
Firm Sized 11-25 3 4%
Firm Sized 26-50 0 4%
Firm Sized 51-100 1 1%
Business Industry 12 18%
Government 13 19%
Public Interest 8 12%
State Clerkship 14 21%
Unemployed Number of Graduates Percent of Graduates
Unemployed, Seeking 5 7%
Pursuing Graduate Degree 3 4%

Top Employment Locations

State Percent Employed
MN 4%
CO 4%
SD 79%

Famous Alumni

Well known alumni of The University of South Dakota School of Law include:

  • Roger Wollman - US Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit
  • Thomas J. Erickson - Past Commissioner, US Commodity Futures Trading Commis
  • Lori S. Wilbur - Justice, SD Supreme Court
  • David Gilbertson - Chief Justice, SD Supreme Ct
  • Tim Johnson - U.S. Senator

Associations & Memberships

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