Dennis Hurst & Associates was founded in 1981 to provide aggressive and experienced legal representation to clients in the private practice of law. Our attorneys have many years of combined experience to provide you with representation when you need it most. We understand that issues of Family Law, Criminal Defense and Personal Injury can be stressful, overwhelming and emotional. We offer the support, guidance and protection you need, when you need it the most!
Dennis Hurst, Founding Attorney
Dennis Hurst is the founder and principal attorney of Dennis Hurst & Associates, a small but aggressive law firm serving clients in southern and mid-Michigan.
Hurst has been a trial and courtroom lawyer for over 36 years, specializing in family / divorce law, criminal defense, personal injury/ auto accident litigation and driver license restoration.
Areas of Practice
Custody & Visitation
Drivers License Restoration
Personal Injury — Plaintiff
Motor Vehicle Accidents — Plaintiff
Highway Crash Negligence
U.S. Supreme Court, 1985
Honors and Awards
Trial Lawyer of the Year, Office of Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Office, 1996 — Present
As Prosecuting Attorney in Jackson County, Hurst founded the Priority Prosecution Unit, focusing on the trial and conviction of major felony offenders. Hurst was selected by his peers as Trial Lawyer of the Year in 1996.
In private practice, Hurst has also focused on major divorce litigation, criminal defense jury trials, and personal injury cases, winning trials and verdicts for clients who need help in complex legal and court systems.
The primary focus of the Hurst and Associates law firm has always been our clients. Serving and advancing the interests of our clients has always been the first and foremost principle of the Hurst Law Firm.
When not fighting for his clients, Dennis Hurst divides his time between Clark Lake and the Traverse City area.
Hurst also has a long record of public and community service, including:
– as an elected City Councilman in Jackson
– as Chairman, Jackson City Attorney Selection Committee
– as an elected Ingham County Commissioner in Lansing
– as Chairman, Task Force on Drunk Driving
– as Member, Energy Commission
– as Chairman, Drug Education Center
– as elected Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney
Benjamin B. Whiting, Attorne
Benjamin Whiting provides aggressive representation as a trial attorney at Hurst & Associates in the areas of criminal law and family law.
For his criminal law clients, Ben has long recognized that individuals accused of crimes are also friends and family members battling their own unique set of circumstances, which have brought them to the law firm. Ben works tirelessly to learn every detail of each case, to humanize the client to prosecuting attorneys, judges and juries, to achieve the most favorable result for every client. Above all, Ben works diligently to represent his client’s best interests.
In family law cases, Ben dives deep to understand the entire family unit in order to help clients find a lasting resolution that will benefit clients and their families. Ben communicates successfully with area courts to provide the information necessary for judges to make the tough decisions that will effect the lives of clients and their children.
When not battling in the courtroom, Ben battles the outdoors in all-season activities, especially involving exploration of Michigan waterways in his canoes. Many of the lighter moments of conversation with Ben often return to his interest in canoeing.
Each summer Ben shares his passions for canoeing with the Special Olympics Kayak Team. He volunteers his time weekly to help teach and provide opportunities to these unique individuals and their families to experience the art of paddling and competition.
Ben is a life long resident of Jackson, Michigan, and a graduate of Jackson High School, where he was Captain of the Swim Team.
Ben graduated from Albion College with a B.A. degree in Political Science, with a Concentration in Law, Justice and Society, and a minor in Philosophy. Ben also graduated from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, with an emphasis on Litigation.
Prior to graduating law school, Ben represented clients while working at the Washtenaw County Public Defender’s Office. Upon admission to the State Bar of Michigan, Ben established his own law practice before merging with Dennis Hurst & Associates.
Barbara Heselschwerdt, Legal Assistant
Barb Heselschwerdt has managed the Hurst & Associates law firm operations for over 20 years.
As the chief Legal Assistant at Dennis Hurst & Associates, and former Administrative Assistant to Prosecuting Attorney Dennis Hurst, Ms. Heselschwerdt (more fondly known as “Barb”), has helped clients and lawyers succeed in the complex legal system for her entire career.
Barb has the education and experience to manage a busy and well organized law practice.
After completing her course work in High School, at the Jackson Area Career Center, where she was honored with awards for speed and proficiency, and achieving the top 5 rating in the Paralegal Program at Jackson College, Barb worked at several successful and well-known area law firms. In 1993, Barb joined on to manage and operate the administrative operations of the Office of Prosecuting Attorney Dennis Hurst, and then Dennis Hurst & Associates.
Running a law firm can be a difficult and demanding task. Lawyers are, by nature, difficult and demanding. Clients are often saddened and in need of a shoulder to cry on, or a listening ear, because of the burdens they are carrying. The creation of perfect documents, and client contact, is critical. Barb handles all with precision and professionalism.
Barb has a reputation for insisting on perfection in all aspects of law firm operations and on serving the needs of clients. She keeps the lawyers on schedule and manages the busy case load at Dennis Hurst & Associates. The lawyers are fond of reminding clients that “we work for her,” not “she works for us.”
When not advancing the interests of her law firm clients, Barb relaxes in her gardens, on the lake, or at a local golf course.!