Skip to main content

School of Law Alumna Howard to Serve as Magistrate Judge

VERMILLION, S.D. – University of South Dakota School of Law alumna Abigail Howard has been approved to serve as the new full-time magistrate judge for the Third Judicial Circuit.

Previously serving as the Brookings County state’s attorney, she was the 2017 winner of the USD Women In Law Attorney of the Year Award. She began her career at Fite, Pierce & Ronning Law Office in Brookings in 2011.

“It is truly an honor to be named the 2017 Women in Law Attorney of the Year,” Howard said. “It is incredibly humbling to be recognized by a group of people that I respect and admire so much.”

A 2011 USD Law graduate, Howard was first elected state’s attorney in 2016. At USD, Howard served as an editor of the South Dakota Law Review, president of the Trial Team, president of the USD Women in Law, and served as vice president of her graduating class. She also won the Sam Masten Moot Court Competition, culminating with an argument before the South Dakota Supreme Court and received the Advocacy Award and the South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association Outstanding Student Member Award in 2011.

Her advice to current and prospective students. “Work hard and stay focused,” Howard said. “Set your sights high, understand you will have to work hard, don’t ever compromise your credibility, and have a sense of humor.”


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