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USD School of Law Alumna Judge Elshere to Serve on South Dakota’s Third Circuit

VERMILLION, S.D. – University of South Dakota School of Law alumna and Magistrate Judge Dawn M. Elshere has been appointed to South Dakota’s Third Circuit Court in Brookings.

“I am very excited and honored to be given the opportunity by Gov. Daugaard to serve the Third Circuit as a Circuit Court Judge. I’ve enjoyed my work as the magistrate judge and the Beadle County Drug Court judge, and I look forward to serving in the capacity as circuit court judge,” Elshere said in the Brookings Register.

Judge Elshere previously served as a Codington County state’s attorney, deputy state’s attorney in Brown and Codington County and in private practice. She graduated from USD Law School in 1994 and was a law clerk for Judge Warren Johnson in the Eighth Circuit. She also holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from USD, graduating in 1991.

“USD Law seeks to assure there are lawyers available to meet all the legal needs of South Dakota including the critical role of judge. We are very proud Judge Elshere is one of our graduates. Her appointment is a tribute to her qualifications and it demonstrates the Law School’s role in the infrastructure of the state,” said Tom Geu, dean of the USD School of Law.

The USD School of Law was recently ranked as a best value law school by the National Jurist for the seventh year in a row and continues to produce most of the state’s top lawyers serving private and public legal practice.


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