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USD Student Bar Association to present 2012 McKusick Award to Judge David R. Gienapp, Pierre attorney Charles M. Thompson

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota Student Bar Association (SBA) will present Third Circuit Court Judge David R. Gienapp of Madison and Pierre attorney Charles M. Thompson with the 2012 Marshall M. McKusick Award. SBA President Kristi Jones will present the awards on Friday, June 22 during the annual meeting of the State Bar of South Dakota in Rapid City.

Thompson graduated from Colorado State University in 1965 with a Bachelor’s Degree in animal nutrition. He received a Juris Doctor degree in 1969 from the University of South Dakota School of Law. While at USD, he was a member of the Delta Theta Phi legal fraternity and a member of the Board of Editors of the South Dakota Law Review. He is admitted to practice before the federal courts at all levels, including the United States Court of Claims and the United States Supreme Court. In 1995, Thompson received an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from USD.

Additionally, Thompson has pursued bar improvement activities through active membership in the ABA. He has been active in the American Bar Association, serving from 1978 to 2002 as a Member of the House of Delegates and was a member of the Board of Governors from 1983-1986. Thompson also has been an active member of the State Bar of South Dakota having served as president of the Young Lawyers Section in 1974-1975 and as President of the State Bar in 1986-1987. He is also a member of the South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association (president 1981-1982), the American Judicature Society (Board of Directors 1981-1985), and the American Board of Trial Advocates. Thompson is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management, and served on the Board of Directors and as Treasurer (1982-1990) of the National Judicial College. He is also a member and vice chair of the Board of Directors of BankWest, Inc., in Pierre, and serves on the Board of Directors of the South Dakota Community Foundation. Thompson was born in Childress, Texas, and was raised on a ranch in the Pierre-Fort Pierre area.

Gienapp joined the Third Judicial Circuit in 2002 when he was appointed as a circuit court judge by Gov. Bill Janklow. He became presiding judge of the circuit Jan. 1, 2007 succeeding Rodney J. Steele. Gienapp received a B.A. degree from the University of South Dakota and a J.D. degree from the University of Wyoming. His broad background includes serving as a clerk for the South Dakota Supreme Court, assistant South Dakota Attorney General and assistant U.S. attorney. He has chaired the state’s Judicial Qualifications Commission, served as president of the South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association and was president of the State Bar of South Dakota. He has also been on the South Dakota State Board of Education and South Dakota Board of Regents. Nationally and beyond, Gienapp’s service and memberships include the American Bar Association, American Board of Criminal Lawyers, American Board of Trial Advocates, American College of Trial Lawyers, International Academy of Trial Lawyers and International Society of Barristers. He was in private practice at Arneson, Issenhuth and Gienapp. He and his wife, Nancy, have two grown children, Ryan Gienapp and Tracy Crum.

Jones said nomination letters praised Gienapp and Thompson as mentors devoted to giving to the profession and serving society as well as their contributions to the South Dakota Bar. Jones, who is from Columbus, Neb., will begin her third year this fall at the University of South Dakota School of Law as the newly-elected SBA president.

The McKusick Award is presented annually to an outstanding member of the South Dakota Bar for contributions to the legal profession. The SBA selects the recipient from nominations by members of the South Dakota Bar. Marshall M. McKusick (1879-1950) was a professor at the USD School of Law beginning in 1902. He was named dean of the Law School in 1911 where he served for nearly five decades.


USD’s Knudson 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 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson 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 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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Hanna DeLange
USD News