Called “Court Week” by students in the law school, this annual event gives students and the public a chance to observe the South Dakota judicial system and how cases are presented. In addition to the happenings in the courtroom, students also learned about the law through a panel discussion with the Supreme Court justices led by Dean Neil Fulton, J.D. Topics of the discussion included the mechanics of how appeals are presented and resolved, the preparations justices go through to get ready for court hearings, and the volume of cases in the oral and non-oral calendars.

Students were also able to network with attorneys in the State Bar Association and Supreme Court justices during a reception held at Valiant Vineyards in Vermillion.

For first-year law student Abuk Akoi, the “Court Week” experience was invaluable and allowed her to gain unique insight into the highest level of the state's legal system.

“I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to engage in direct conversation with the South Dakota Supreme Court justices,” said Akoi. “This brief encounter left a lasting impression and reinforced my commitment to pursuing a legal career.

"I gained valuable insight from both the justices and the panel, particularly regarding the importance of a nuanced understanding of the law and the judge’s interpretation of its intricacies,” she continued. “Additionally, hearing Justice Kern’s anecdotes about her own personal experiences and challenges throughout her legal career was truly inspiring. These interactions not only showcase resilience but also serve as a source of motivation for others, especially for a first-year law student like myself, to follow in their footsteps and make a positive contribution to the legal profession.”

Before starting law school, Akoi knew that the Supreme Court would be making an appearance on campus; however, she was not aware of the significance of the relationship between the state’s only law school and the South Dakota Supreme Court.

“I was amazed to discover the depth of the relationship between USD law and the state Supreme Court,” Akoi said. “I believe the close association with the Supreme Court is a true testament to USD law’s commitment to legal excellence and opportunity. If I had known about this relationship prior, it would have only solidified my decision.”

Press Contact
Hanna DeLange
Contact Email
Contact Website website