USD Law Trial Team Wins “Most Professional Team Award” at the ABA's National Ethics Trial Competition

VERMILLION, S.D. -- A team from the University of South Dakota School of Law won the “Most Professional Team Award” at the recent National Ethics Trial Competition, jointly sponsored by the American Bar Association, the Anthony M. Kennedy Inns of Court, and the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law.

In two of the past three years the USD law team placed in the top five in professionalism and ethics at this elite national competition. However, this year, the team of Andy Fick of Quimby, Iowa; Ashlee Wendt of Alcester; Aron Hogden of Sioux Falls; and Tracye Sherrill of Yankton took things to the highest possible level.

Twenty law schools were invited to the competition including Georgetown University, Wisconsin, Colorado, American University, Loyola-Chicago, Catholic University, Fordham, and others.

“I believe that such a remarkable accomplishment is a testament to the professionalism and ethics of all of South Dakota's lawyers and our fine faculty and deans---all of whom set a daily example for our students of the professionalism and ethics demanded in today's legal world,” said Tom Horton, associate professor of law and Heidepriem Trial Advocacy Fellow. Horton directs the USD School of Law trial teams with help from Professor Mike McKey. USD trial teams entered 12 national competitions during the 2014-2015 academic year.

The National Ethics Trial Competition was established in 2006 to promote ethical and civility awareness through the mock trial competition format. It is the only law school-sponsored competition that features both an ethical component in the issues to be tried and scoring based on the participants' observation of ethical and civility principles. The competition is open to applications from all ABA-accredited law schools that have demonstrated excellence in the training of law students in ethical trial practice.


USD’s School of Law prepares students for leadership in the administration of justice in South Dakota, including in rural areas where the demand is great, and for private practice, public service, business and other law-related endeavors anywhere. Its joint degree program allows students to also earn one of nine master’s degrees within the traditional three-year law curriculum, which includes course tracks in business, commercial, constitutional, criminal, employment, environmental, Indian, real estate and tax law as well as civil litigation and estate planning.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 205 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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Michael Ewald
USD News