Jean H. Bender

Jean H. Bender

South Dakota Employment Lawyer

My Story

Sioux Falls lawyer Jean H. Bender is an employment lawyer at Davenport Evans.  Jean is extremely active assisting clients with employee benefits issues and all areas of employment law. Jean counsels clients on issues involving harassment, race, sex, age, national origin and disability discrimination, wrongful termination, wage and hour issues arising under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and leave issues under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Jean proactively counsels clients on issues such as hiring and firing, drug testing, harassment and discrimination investigations, employment policies, and company handbooks. Jean also drafts corporate documents related to employment such as contracts, non-compete agreements, and severance agreements and releases.

Jean also consults with clients on ERISA and other legal compliance issues for employee benefit plans ranging from qualified retirement plans to flexible benefit plans. Jean has assisted a number of clients in correcting plan errors through IRS and DOL voluntary compliance programs such as EPCRS and DFVCP. She also negotiates service contracts with third party providers.

Jean has received a Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished Peer Rating, indicating the attorney is widely respected for high professional achievement and ethical standards. She has also been selected by Best Lawyers® as the 2021 Lawyer of the Year for South Dakota in the area of Employment Law – Management. She is listed by Best Lawyers in the area of Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law and Employment Law—Management, and has been ranked by Chambers and Partners in the area of Labor & Employment Law.

Jean is active in a number of community organizations. She currently serves on the Minnehaha County Board of Commissioners. She is past president of the Brandon Valley School Board and chair of the Brandon Valley Booster Club. She is also the former president of the board of directors for Volunteers of America, Dakotas and previously served on the CASA Board of Directors. Jean is a frequent volunteer for Junior Achievement and is active in her church.

Position: Of Counsel
Direct: (605) 336-2880

Professional Experience

Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith, LLP 
Of Counsel: 2000 – present
Partner: 1999 – 2000
Associate: 1992 – 1998 

Southern Methodist University School of Law
Legal Writing Instructor 

U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
Law Clerk to Judge Irving L. Golberg


Texas Christian University 
(B.S., magna cum laude, 1984) 

Southern Methodist University 
(J.D., cum laude, 1989), Hatton W. Sumners Scholar

Professional Memberships

State Bar of South Dakota
American Bar Association


Admitted to Practice (State): 
South Dakota, 1991


Order of Coif

Symposium Editor, Journal of Air Law and Commerce, 1988 – 1989

Author: Congressional Limitations on State Taxation of Air Transportation,53 Journal of Air Law and Commerce 1041 (1988)

Protecting what you’ve built.

Phone Numbers

Driving Directions

Davenport Evans, Hurwitz & Smith, LLP

206 West 14th Street
P.O. Box 1030
Sioux Falls, SD 57101-1030