Eighth Circuit Historical Society

The Historical Society of the United States Courts in the Eighth Circuit

Judge Roger L. Wollman The Honorable Roger L. Wollman
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Portrait Ceremony

Judge Wollman, a giant in the South Dakota legal community and beyond, announced in February 2018 his plans to assume senior status upon his successor’s qualification for office, or no later than December 31, 2018.

Roger Wollman was born May 29, 1934, in his family’s farmhouse in Frankfort, South Dakota and grew up in a Mennonite farming community. He attended one-room country elementary schools in Spink County and graduated from Doland High School in 1952. He graduated with his B.A. in history from Tabor College in Kansas in 1957 and then served for two years in the United States Army. He entered the University of South Dakota School of Law, where he served as editor-in-chief of the South Dakota Law Review and earned his law degree, magna cum laude, in 1962. From 1962 to 1963, he clerked for U.S. District Judge George T. Mickelson of South Dakota, and in 1964, earned his Master of Laws degree from Harvard Law School.

Wollman practiced law with Douglas W. Bantz in Aberdeen, South Dakota from 1964 to 1971, while also serving as Brown County’s state’s attorney in Aberdeen from 1967 to 1971. He was elected to the South Dakota Supreme Court in 1971 and re-elected in 1976 and 1984. He served as that court’s Chief Justice from 1978 to 1982.

In 1985, President Reagan appointed Wollman to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. At that time, he was the third South Dakotan appointed to the court and the first on the court in 23 years, with Archibald K. Gardner serving from 1929 to 1962. Judge Wollman served as Chief Judge from 1999 to 2002, stepping down early to allow his colleague and friend Judge David R. Hansen to serve in that office.

Judge Wollman has served as a member of the United States Judicial Conference Court Administration and Case Management Committee, as well as the Federal-State Jurisdiction Committee. He was a charter member of the Judicial Advisory Board of the American Society of International Law from 1998 to 2016.

He received a Distinguished Alumni award from Tabor College in 1971 and from the University of South Dakota in 1988. He received the Marshall M. McKusick Award from the University of South Dakota Student Bar Association in 2000 and was the dedicatee of Volume 46 of the South Dakota Law Review in 2001. He was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 2002.

ln 2018, Judge Wollman was presented with the Distinguished Service Award by the South Dakota Charter of the Federal Bar Association, the Fred J. Nichol Award for Outstanding Jurist by the South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association, and the Richard S. Arnold Award for Distinguished Service by the Eighth Circuit Bar Association.

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