Our Story

Davenport Evans Culture & History

Argus Leader: Law firm’s home was early Sioux Falls hospital

In 1939, Holton Davenport and Ellsworth Evans formed what would become one of the region’s oldest and largest law firms.  With the addition of Louis Hurwitz and Deming Smith, the firm grew to become a leader in both litigation and commercial law.  The founders’ vision of a firm based on integrity, expertise, and a tireless commitment to client success lives on today.

Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith has celebrated over 75 years in the practice of law. The firm’s attorneys wish to express their thanks to the businesses, families, and individuals who have placed their trust in Davenport Evans. To our many clients and friends– thank you. You have been the key to our success, and we remain unceasingly dedicated to yours.



Davenport Evans Founders Holton Davenport, Ellsworth Evans, Louis Hurwitz & Deming Smith.

Davenport Evans was established in 1939 by attorneys Holton Davenport and Ellsworth Evans. A Boston attorney, Davenport moved to Sioux Falls to be near family. At Davenport’s request, Evans, a former South Dakota State’s Attorney and Assistant Attorney General, joined the practice, which later welcomed attorneys Louis Hurwitz and Deming Smith.

Today, Davenport Evans is home to 33 attorneys, several of whom worked alongside founding partners. Our founders are remembered often in meetings with recollections of their approach to a challenge, a favorite joke, or memories of long hours spent reviewing a case. The firm’s dedication to excellence, strong work ethic and providing value to its clients has not changed. In the words of Partner Edwin Evans, “We continue the traditions upon which the law firm was founded. We try to provide the best legal service possible to clients at a fair price, and to support the community.”

Throughout the firm’s existence, Davenport Evans attorneys have held leadership positions in the state and local bar associations, and several have gone on to serve as federal or state judges.  Davenport Evans was founded with a focus on litigation, which remains a core practice area today. In addition, today’s attorneys also practice in the areas of business and real estate, employment, tax, mergers and acquisitions, trust and estate planning, banking, health care and more.

Community Involvement

Feeding SD Lawyers Thanksgiving web

Davenport Evans lawyers donate Thanksgiving turkeys to Feeding South Dakota

Dedicated to community, members of the firm serve on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations, and the firm’s charitable giving ranges from health care research to services for at-risk populations to the arts and education. The firm’s unwavering advocacy and commitment to excellence demonstrates a devotion to giving clients and community its very best. Click here to see a list of community organizations and volunteer activities supported by Davenport Evans. Visit our News page to read about the great service projects we’ve enjoyed in the last year. Here are a few highlights from 2014:

75 Turkeys    Happy Meals and a Rush on Socks   

Food & Fellowship

Lawyers Playing Dodgeball?   Bus Passes & Paint Brushes

Our Building

Davenport Evans offices are located at the corner of 14th Street and Main Avenue in Sioux Falls, SD, in the former Moe Hospital.  Built in 1917 by Dr. Anton J. Moe and his wife Frances Favor Moe, the hospital included two operating rooms, an obstetrical room, a laboratory and a dietary kitchen, as well as a Nurses’ Home, laundry, engineer’s residence and garage.  The 5-floor hospital building was described as “a modern, all-fireproof structure of handsome architecture of cream colored brick” with “a beautifully designed and finished interior of Italian and Tennessee marble.”

The Moe Hospital building went through several incarnations before being purchased by Davenport Evans in 1982. The law firm has added to and remodeled the former hospital over the years and has now completed renovations.  The Davenport Evans building serves as a proud reminder of the firm’s long history and tradition of excellence. More on the history of Moe Hospital from the book “Forgotten Sioux Falls” by Eric Renshaw, and ArgusLeader.com.


Davenport Evans’ clients experience a unique attorney-client relationship in which the best minds come together to communicate with the client through a single point of contact. “We’re quick to find the best person for the particular project, and very willing to share the work with others here, because others may have expertise in that area that can add more value for the client,” notes Partner Charles Gullickson.


Several of the firm’s attorneys have led state and local bar associations, and several have become federal or state judges. Many of its lawyers are listed in the Best Lawyers in America peer-review guide, including some as Lawyers of the Year. Likewise, many of its attorneys appear in Great Plains Super Lawyers. Davenport Evans was named a Best Law Firm in the Sioux Falls metropolitan area and is consistently recognized by Chambers USA as among the country’s leading firms and lawyers.