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Up & Coming Honorees: Ben Hurst, 32

Associate, Graves Garrett, Kansas City

hurst-benPractice Areas: Free speech, elections and campaign finance, government information, internal investigations

Law School: University of Virginia

Ben Hurst was warned against a legal career. Professors during his undergraduate days told him it was an endless series of deposition transcripts. A summer working at Graves Garrett changed his mind, once he saw first-hand the work that attorneys do for people facing difficult circumstances.

Following law school, Hurst spent three years as a judge advocate for the U.S. Army at Fort Knox in Kentucky. There he represented the Army in labor and employment law matters while also serving as a special assistant U.S. attorney for Western Kentucky. Since returning to Graves Garrett as an associate in 2016, Hurst has developed a specialty in free-speech and privacy law, including enforcing state public-records laws through litigation and drafting a summary-judgment defense of Tea Party organizations that were challenging the IRS.

Hurst also serves on the Missouri Clean Water Commission and spends his free time gardening and reading.

What has been your favorite moment as an attorney?

I served as the primary draftsman of our appellate papers in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in a case challenging Wisconsin prosecutors’ secret seizures of our client’s email accounts using “John Doe” warrants. This was my favorite moment because I had the chance to present argument and analysis of a difficult area of law in order to vindicate rights to privacy and association that we believed had been seriously violated.

What advice do you have for young lawyers?

Courts, clients, and senior attorneys are all busy people, and they all value concision and efficiency. It is better to approach them all one time with your shortest, best argument or advice than to repeatedly seek guidance.

What is the best career advice you have received?

The bar is a small community. The bar of your peers is even smaller, and you’re stuck with them your whole career. It can be tempting to lash out when your opposing counsel does something outrageous, but it is better to resist that temptation and err on the side of being civil.

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