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Law Student and Team Do Well in Minn. Competition

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- USD law student Jon Hansen was recognized as the outstanding oral advocate at the William E. McGee National Civil Rights Moot Court Competition sponsored by Mitchell Hamline Law School and the USD team advanced to the semifinals of the tournament held last weekend in the Twin Cities.

Hansen is a third-year student from Dell Rapids, South Dakota. He was recognized for his performance in three preliminary rounds and three advanced rounds of the tournament. In each round, Hansen presented an oral argument on behalf of either the petitioner or the respondent in a case involving a Mississippi statute that would force the closure of the only clinic providing abortion services in the state. Unlike most moot court tournaments, which are based on hypothetical cases, this competition required students to write appellate briefs and then argue the issues in an actual case decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Currier v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

The USD team comprised Hansen, Brianna Palomaki and Jason Thomas advanced to the semifinals of the tournament. They won four of their six rounds, defeating teams from DePaul, St. Thomas, Brigham Young and Chicago-Kent. A second USD team, composed of Kiira Anderson, Austin Hoffman and Pradeep Jayaraman, also competed in the tournament.


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 84 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.


Hanna DeLange
USD News