Austin, Hinderaker, Hopper, Strait & Benson LLP is a partnership of lawyers engaged in the general practice of law in Watertown, South Dakota. The firm was established in 1926 by Perry F. Loucks and it has operated continuously since. Alan L. Austin joined Mr. Loucks in the fall of 1931. They practiced together until 1942 when Mr. Loucks died. Alan Austin was General Counsel and Secretary for the Midland National Life Insurance Company for many years. He became counsel to the firm in 1980. Alan Austin died on April 25, 2005.

In 1944, Harold O. Lovre came to Watertown from Hayti and joined Mr. Austin in a partnership called Austin & Lovre. Mr. Lovre was elected to the U. S. Congress in 1948 and retired from the firm.

In the fall of 1948, Irving A. Hinderaker joined the firm. Mr. Hinderaker is a graduate of Augustana College and the University of South Dakota School of Law. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. His practice emphasizes probate and business law. He became counsel to the firm on January 1, 1992, and is now fully retired.

William A. Hackett joined Austin & Hinderaker in 1954. Until his death in 1985, Bill Hackett practiced in the areas of casualty litigation, family and criminal law. He was a member of numerous professional societies and was one of the best known trial lawyers in the State of South Dakota.

In 1962, J. Douglas Austin returned to Watertown after service in the Judge Advocate General Corps of the United States Army. He is a graduate of the University of South Dakota and University of South Dakota School of Law. Doug has a general practice emphasizing business and estate planning, probate and personal injury law. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.

Paul I. Hinderaker joined the firm in 1973, a graduate of Augustana College and the University of Minnesota Law School. His practice emphasizes commercial law, estate planning and estate administration.

In 1981, Arthur M. Hopper came to the firm. A Watertown native, Monte graduated from the University of South Dakota, with honors, and the University of Iowa College of Law, with high distinction. His practice primarily involves general negligence trials, employment, commercial and banking litigation and school law.

David R. Strait, a Castlewood, South Dakota, native, joined the firm in 1987 following a position as Law Clerk for the Third Judicial Circuit Court of South Dakota. He is a graduate of the University of South Dakota and University of South Dakota School of Law. His practice emphasizes domestic law, business/corporations and estate planning.

Kate M. Benson joined the firm in 2002. She is a graduate of University of Southern Indiana and the University of South Dakota School of Law. Her practice emphasizes criminal law and domestic law.

We are located in our own office building at 25 First Avenue Southwest in Watertown. We are proud of our modern office facilities which feature state of the art technology in office equipment. The lawyers are assisted by trained paralegals and experienced legal secretaries. The staff works together to ensure the prompt economical delivery of legal services to our clients.

We maintain an up-to-date law library and online research services to provide the firm with access to the latest legal developments. We are committed to the continuing education of all members of our legal service team. Lawyers and support staff attend many continuing education courses of the State Bar of South Dakota, South Dakota Paralegals Association, National Association of Legal Secretaries and other national education groups.

We subscribe to the highest standards of legal ethics. Your relationship with your lawyer requires complete confidence and trust. We keep our clients informed of the progress of their cases on a regular basis.

In addition to our law practice, we expect our firm members and employees to participate in civic and regional affairs. We have a long history of activity in education, youth groups, hospitals and churches on the local and regional level. We believe this reflects our commitment to Watertown’s quality of life and our determination to be leaders in civic affairs and matters of public concern.