Scott Abdallah is the managing partner of Johnson, Janklow & Abdallah, LLP. His practice is focused almost exclusively in the area of trial work and civil litigation including personal injury, wrongful death and bad faith insurance litigation.
He has been continuously selected for inclusion in the national publication, US News and World Report - The Best Lawyers in America, and was voted personal injury “Lawyer of the Year” by the same publication in 2022. Scott is one of only twelve lawyers in South Dakota to receive the highest ranking possible by Chambers USA for his litigation work and presentation skills in the courtroom. He is also one of only twenty-five lawyers in South Dakota to receive the highest ranking possible by Benchmark Litigation - a national publication of America's leading litigation attorneys. In addition, Scott has also been continuously selected for inclusion in Great Plains Super Lawyers, which includes only 5% of the attorneys in each state. He is one of only six South Dakota attorneys who are members of the National Association of Distinguished Counsel, which recognizes the top 1% of practicing attorneys in the United States. In 2010, Scott received the Toast of the Trial Lawyers Award, which is an award given annually by the South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association to those attorneys who merit special recognition for their work. Throughout his career, Scott has been a frequent lecturer on various legal topics at universities, high schools and legal training seminars and has appeared as a guest on multiple news programs. Scott is also routinely appointed by the Court to serve as a Referee in state and local election recounts.
Scott was born in Sioux Falls, SD. He received a degree in Business Management from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He then graduated with honors from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, MN . Following law school, he joined the downtown Minneapolis law firm of Moss & Barnett, one of the largest firms in Minnesota. He worked in the litigation department, focusing on insurance defense and commercial litigation.
In January of 1995, Scott returned home to South Dakota when he was appointed to the position of State's Attorney for Lincoln County. When he took office at age 27, he was the youngest full-time State's Attorney in South Dakota. In 1996, he was elected to a four-year term as State's Attorney, and elected again to another four-year term in 2000. As a prosecutor, he helped decrease felony crime by almost 50% in the fastest growing county in South Dakota. At the age of 29, Scott successfully prosecuted Donald Moeller for the rape and murder of a nine-year-old Sioux Falls girl named Becky O'Connell. The Moeller jury was only the third jury to return a death sentence in South Dakota since the state reinstated the death penalty in 1979.
In 1999, Scott was appointed by Governor William Janklow to serve on the South Dakota Board of Pardons and Paroles, making him one of the youngest members ever appointed to that board.
In 2001, Scott was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve as South Dakota's 36th United States Attorney. He was appointed as Interim United States Attorney in 2001 by the Hon. Lawrence L. Piersol, Chief Judge of the District of South Dakota, and served briefly in that position before leaving to join Johnson Janklow & Abdallah, LLP, in 2002.
Scott and his wife Patti have two children.
Hamline University School of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
It is great to work with the attorneys at Johnson, Janklow, and Abdallah. They always provide excellent advice and service that is second to none.
The lawyers at Johnson, Janklow, and Abdallah are consistently ranked as the top business lawyers in the state. Our business can always count on them to aggressively fight for our rights and provide straight-forward advice on complex issues.
Lawyers from Johnson, Janklow, and Abdallah regularly participate in legal education by judging intramural student skills competitions; helping prepare our nationally competitive litigation skills teams; serving or leading the South Dakota State Bar's Law School Committee; and, from time to time , providing guest lecturers. The Law School is grateful for the generous participation of lawyers like those from Johnson, Janklow, and Abdallah.