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SD judges receive prestigious USD Women in Law honors

VERMILLION — The University of South Dakota Women in Law recently presented its 2014 Attorney of the Year award to Sixth Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Trandahl and Seventh Circuit Magistrate Judge Shawn Pahlke.

The co-recipients of the award were both graduates of the University of South Dakota School of Law's Class of 1985. They were also founding members of Women in Law.

Trandahl received her undergraduate degree from Augustana College in 1982 and her J.D. from USD in 1985. She practiced law in Winner until she was appointed to the circuit court bench by Gov. Walter Dale Miller in 1994. She is the senior circuit court judge in the Sixth Circuit. She is active in many civic organizations in her community and led the effort to establish drug courts in South Dakota.

Pahlke received her undergraduate degree from Black Hills State University in 1981 and her J.D. from USD in 1985. She served as a prosecutor for the Pennington County State's Attorney before moving into the Pennington County Public Defender's Office, where she was the first female director of the public defender's office. She began her work as a magistrate judge for the Seventh Circuit in 1995, only the second woman to serve in this capacity.