Attorney Profiles - Child:Heather Hurst

Heather M. Hurst

Partner

"Defining the best course of action for my clients always starts with listening," states Heather Hurst. "In the midst of a divorce, people feel rejected and betrayed. They are dealing with a legal system that most likely is unfamiliar territory. I think that 'being heard' empowers them to move on with their lives. Sometimes clients' concern for what appears to be a small thing actually represents their concern for a larger, unspoken issue. I know it's worth having those conversations to get to that core matter. Only then will I be able to offer the counsel they need, and be able to represent them in an effective manner."

"But while clients appreciate empathy," adds Hurst, "they also recognize that my role is to keep their goals at the forefront so we stay focused on the ultimate outcome of their divorce. They know I'll handle the technical details of their case objectively and professionally."

For much of her first 10 years practicing law, she worked in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, and regularly represented the Illinois State's Attorney's Office as a featured speaker on domestic violence issues in Chicago. In addition to her commitment to engaged listening, Hurst is a born litigator. She loves working in the courtroom, and finds that her extensive experience there enriches the perspective she brings to her family law practice.

"When a marriage with children has problems, the whole family is at risk," says Hurst. "Often the strife over child custody is more about the parents and the divorce than what's best for their children. That's when I have the responsibility to say what my clients may not want to hear: that they need to focus on their children's future and leave their personal agenda on the shelf."

"I have found," continues Hurst, "that when divorcing parents can keep all of their negotiations focused on the best interests of the children recognizing that they're not 'little suitcases' to be shuttled from one parent's home to the otherthen everything else can fall into place. And with my experience, I can navigate the legal system to achieve my clients' goals within that context of their whole family."

Reflecting on her profession, Hurst says, "I think we don't realize how much advice we as attorneys give, even if it's just sharing our insights about judges' style and perspectives. And though we may know a lot, we are still confronted with things we haven't seen before. So we constantly seek advice from the other attorneys here at Davis Friedman. We are always learning from each other and always there to help and provide information."

"I hold with high regard the trust and confidence clients place in me. They welcome me into the most intimate aspects of their lives when they're already feeling most fragile and vulnerable," says Hurst. "There's no room for judgment about individual choices. I take situations as I find them and help my clients move forward to a happier, secure future."

Admitted to the Bar

2000, Illinois and United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

Education

John Marshall Law School, J.D., 2000

University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, B.A., 1995

Professional Memberships

Illinois State Bar Association: Family Law Section Council, Secretary

American Bar Association

Chicago Bar Association

Professional Women's Club of Chicago

Accomplishments and Publications

CALI Award for highest academic achievement in Family Law, 1999

Listed in Leading Lawyers; 40 under Forty

Illinois State Bar Association Continuing Legal Education: "Family Law Table Clinic Series: Order of Protection / Domestic Violence Prosecution," Panelist, 2016

Helen F. McGillicuddy Awards Symposium: "Domestic Violence & Families," Panelist, 2015

Illinois State Bar Association Family Law Newsletter, "The effect of in re: The Marriage of Earlywine on Section 5/501(c-1) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act and the Practice of Divorce Law," 2013

Illinois State Bar Association Family Law Newsletter, "In re Marriage of Mancine v. Gansner, In re the Parentage of Scarlett Z.-D. and the status of 'equitable parents' and 'equitable adoption' in Illinois," 2014

Illinois State Bar Association Continuing Legal Education: "Family Law: Nuts & Bolts" course, "Pleadings, Responses, and Appearances," Presenter, 2014

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