School of Law at USD presents 2010 Gunderson Lecture recognizes McKusick Award recipient on Oct. 14

VERMILLION, S.D. -- James C. Duff, director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, will present the 2010 Clark Y. Gunderson Lecture at The University of South Dakota School of Law at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 14, in the Law School courtroom.

Duff’s address, entitled “Civil Liberties During War Time,” will be preceded by a presentation of the Marshall M. McKusick Award at 5 p.m. by the Student Bar Association to the Honorable Lawrence Piersol, senior U.S. District judge of Sioux Falls. A reception for both guests is at 5:30 p.m. in the student commons at the USD School of Law. The public is invited, and students and professors are encouraged to attend beginning at 5 p.m.

As director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, Duff serves as the chief administrative officer of the federal courts under the direction and supervision of the Judicial Conference of the United States, the principal policy-making body for the federal court system. Duff manages approximately 900 employees and provides legal counsel to the judiciary and administrative support to close to 2,000 judicial officers and 30,000 court employees. Duff also serves as advocate and liaison for the judicial branch in its relations with Congress.

Duff, who was appointed in 2006 by the Honorable John Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the United States, has more than 30 years of legislative, litigation and management experience in Washington, D.C., and previously was managing partner of the law firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell and Berkowitz. He began his career as an office and courtroom assistant to Chief Justice Warren E. Burger from 1975-1979, while attending law school. He received his B.A. degree from the University of Kentucky in 1975 and his juris doctor from Georgetown University Law Center in 1981.

Judge Piersol received a B.A. Degree and juris doctor from USD. As a law school student, he was editor-in-chief of the South Dakota Law Review and later spent three years as an Army captain in the Judge Advocate General Corps. He was also a trial lawyer with the Sioux Falls law firm of Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith. In 1993 he was appointed by President Clinton as a U.S. District Court Judge. Piersol was chief judge for the District of South Dakota from 1999 to 2006 and is currently a senior judge.

Held annually as a lecture or symposium with the support from the Law School Foundation, the Gunderson Lecture is the Law School’s preeminent lecture and is in honor of Clark Y. Gunderson, a USD School of Law faculty member from 1934 to 1963. Professor Gunderson devoted his life to public service and legal education. The lecture is provided through the Foundation trust fund established by the Gunderson family. 

The McKusick Award is named for Marshall M. McKusick, a dean and professor who served the USD School of Law for five decades. The award is presented annually to an outstanding member of the South Dakota Bar for contributions to the legal profession.