NewsJune 21 2017

Kennebec has a new attorney

Posted by Lucy

Kennebec has a new attorney  
By Lucy Halverson/LCH
   Amy Janssen, who has been working at Sundall Law office in Kennebec since the summer of 2014, passed her bar exam last February and is now fully licensed to practice law in South Dakota and her home state of Nebraska.  
    Sitting at her desk at the law office, surrounded by law reference books and her young daughter’s colorful artwork, Janssen was excited to discuss her law practice, and what brought her to Kennebec.  
    Growing up on a ranch in Nebraska, Janssen said she always wanted to be a lawyer.  
   “I knew since I was eight-years-old that I wanted to be an attorney,” she said. “I thought it was the best way to help people.” 
   During college she devoted her time to her studies rather than extra-curricular activities.  
  I knew what I wanted to do, and really focused on my grades,” Janssen said. 
  Her interest in criminal law and helping people developed as a member of the college Criminal Justice Association at Chadron State College.  
  We participated in ride-alongs with law enforcement, observed drug dogs in action, and experienced crime scene analysis,” she said.  
  She recently started accepting court-appointments from the Sixth Circuit Court at Kennebec, and had her first day in court June 15, representing a client on a criminal charge.  
  It went well,” Janssen said about her first appearance in front of Sixth Circuit Judge Patricia J. DeVaney.  
  In addition to court-appointments, she is now accepting clients at her private practice at Sundall Law, and was recently named the attorney for the town of Kennebec - a position Sundall held for nearly 40 years.  
  With Sundall’s mentoring, she has gained valuable experience in probate and real estate law over the last several years.  
  I have the best mentor,” she said, in reference to working with Sundall.  
  As a court-appointed attorney, she’s also knowledgeable in criminal law, dealing with DUI’s and drug possession charges.  
   Janssen was raised on a ranch near Gordon, Neb. She graduated from high school in 2006, then went on to further her education at Wayne and Chadron, Neb. She earned a criminal justice degree, and then enrolled in law school at the University of South Dakota where she graduated in May of 2014. 
  South Dakota’s Rural Attorney Recruitment Program, approved by the 2013 South Dakota Legislature, is credited with bringing Janssen to Lyman County. 
  The program provides attorneys with an incentive payment funded by the South Dakota United Judicial System, the State Bar, and the eligible county, to practice law. As a qualifying county Lyman County is responsible for 35 percent of the total amount of the incentive payment, payable over five years, to assist with the attorney’s law school tuition and fees. Janssen is one of approximately 16 licensed attorneys to be placed in qualifying counties since the program started. 
  I had let it be known at the law school that I was looking for someone to come in and eventually take over,” Sundall said.  
  Janssen contacted several different law firms in the state including Sundall. After visiting the area, she and her husband Jake chose Kennebec in part because he also found employment as a heavy equipment operator with Kennebec Telephone Construction.  
  We wanted to live in a smaller community, and I didn’t want to stay in Nebraska,” she said. “It [Kennebec] just fit the best.”  
  Sundall was happy to get the call. He joked that the list of lawyers wanting to move to Kennebec was a “pretty short list!” 
  Amy and her family are a good fit for Kennebec,” he said. “I would encourage clients to give her an opportunity.”  
  In her spare time Janssen enjoys reading and spending time with her family, attending her daughter’s activities, and traveling back to Nebraska to visit extended family. 
  Amy was sworn into office by Chief Justice David Gilbertson at a private ceremony attended by her husband and their two children, Aerika and Joseph, along with other family members, and Herb and Deanna Sundall at the South Dakota Supreme Court in Pierre May 2.

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