BJ Wetherell photo“Through JAG, I’ve prosecuted military members, counseled commanders on rules of engagement and advised high-ranking officers about lawful expenditures of government funds.”

Captain B.J. Wetherell, Judge Advocate for the United States Army
Cleghorn, Iowa

I chose USD’s School of Law because of its low professor-to-student ratio, high bar passage rate and affordability. As an accounting major at USD, I really valued my undergraduate experience and everything campus had to offer. I didn’t always know that I wanted to be a lawyer, but my experience in ROTC sparked my interest in military justice, which led me to the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG).

As a law student, I was active in USD’s nationally recognized trial team and moot court board. Having hands-on experiences like these helped me prepare for a career in courtroom advocacy. It was through these organizations that I discovered my passion for being a prosecutor.

Today, I am a judge advocate for the United States Army. I love the amount of courtroom experiences and the wide range of legal issues I encounter. Through JAG, I’ve prosecuted military members who violate the uniform code of military justice; counseled commanders on rules of engagement and other authorities on what can and cannot be done during wartime; and advised high-ranking officers and commanders about lawful expenditures of government funds. I’ve litigated more than 20 courts marshal and spent 12 months in Afghanistan advising commanders on a variety of legal matters. I know my hands-on learning experiences at USD were critical to becoming the lawyer I am today.

Steve Cotton photo“I became a state’s attorney because I want to assist local law enforcement in keeping the community safe.”

Steve Cotton, State’s Attorney for Charles Mix County
Wagner, South Dakota

As a state’s attorney for Charles Mix County, I work closely with law enforcement to determine if criminal charges need to be filed. I also advise county commissioners on legal issues, including civil matters.

I chose USD’s School of Law because of its exceptional faculty. The professors have a wide range of credentials, legal knowledge and experience. I was able to take advantage of valuable student opportunities, including the Student Bar Association and the legal fraternity Delta Theta Phi. USD also annually hosts the South Dakota Supreme Court’s spring session in the law school courtroom. Watching experienced lawyers argue their cases in front of the state’s highest court was an unforgettable experience. I was encouraged to ask the justices questions at the conclusion of the court session, an experience most law students across the country do not get the chance to have.

I became a state’s attorney because I want to help those in need of counseling an addiction treatment return to the community as productive members. I’m proud to be part of creating a safer and healthier community by ensuring justice is achieved.