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USD School of Law Team Does Well in National Competition

Image Stetson Competition Ramon Ortiz, who coached the USD team with Thomas Horton, and law students Sam Krystosek, Allyson Crespo, Trinette LaFleur and Becca Reiter

GULFPORT, Florida — A four-person team of students from the University of South Dakota School of Law placed sixth out of 16 top trial programs invited to a prestigious national competition at Stetson University in Florida.

The National Pretrial Advocacy Competition, held earlier this month, sought to capture what attorneys do every day in offices and courtrooms nationwide. Texas Tech University School of Law won the 2015 competition.

USD team members included Allyson Crespo, of Bronx, New York; Becca Reiter, of Rochester, Minnesota; Trinette Lafleur, of Sioux City, Iowa; and Sam Krystosek, of Saint Cloud, Minnesota. They were coached by USD School of Law professor and Heidepriem Trial Advocacy Fellow Thomas Horton and Ramon Ortiz, visiting director of experiential learning and senior lecturer.

"Our overall placement is especially exciting given that this was the first year we were invited to this tournament, and it is the first time that a USD School of Law team has competed in a tournament focusing on pretrial procedures,” Horton said.

“Of course, we are proud of the team's accomplishments, but we are equally proud to have what we believe to be the highest percentage of each graduating class participating in such competitions,” added USD School of Law Dean Tom Geu.


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.

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Hanna DeLange
USD News