Stephen J. Henning is a co-founder of Wood, Smith, Henning & Berman LLP, an AmLaw 150 law firm with 33 offices throughout the United States. Steve is a skilled litigator, nationally recognized for results in complex construction, habitability, real estate, business and toxic tort litigation. He regularly represents Fortune 500 companies and preeminent members of the business community, including some of the nation’s largest residential and commercial public and private owners, homebuilders, developers, investors, contractors and lenders. Additionally, Steve has a thriving practice focused on public entities, handling all facets of litigation and risk management pertaining to construction and toxic tort issues. He is regularly called upon by public and private employers for both advice in risk management and aggressive representation in claims involving employment issues, from internal complaints, to administrative charges, to litigated matters involving allegations related to executive compensation, discrimination and whistle-blower protections.  Steve received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Nebraska, where he competed on the National Trial team.

In addition to his extensive legal practice, he regularly gives back to the community by taking on leadership positions in several national and local charities. Steve served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the March of Dimes, and he is a founding Board member and past President of the Construction Defect Community Charitable Foundation. He was also on the Board of Directors for both the Alzheimer’s Association. He currently serves on the Board of Levitt & Quinn, a public aid law firm providing legal services to people in need. Steve is proud to be the first defense lawyer awarded the Jerold S. Oliver Award for his contributions to the construction-defect community. An AV-rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell, for the past ten years he has been selected for inclusion as either a “Rising Star” or “Super Lawyer.” Steve is also a proud recipient of CLM’s 2019 Outside Counsel Professional of the Year Award.


  • Promenade at Playa Vista Homeowners Assn. v. Western Pacific Housing, Inc. (2011) 200 Cal.App.4th 849 [133 Cal.Rptr.3d 41] review granted and opinion superseded, (Cal. 2012) 136 Cal.Rptr.3d 667
  • Hampton Bay Court Association, Inc. v. Storm/Western Development, 2006 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5646 (California Unpublished Opinions 2006)
  • Shapell Industries, Inc. v. Superior Court, 132 Cal. App. 4th 1101 (Cal. Ct. App. 2005)
  • Chelsea Court Condo. Homeowners Association, Inc. v. WNP Construction, 2004 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2787 (California Unpublished Opinions 2004)
  • Mayer v. C.W. Driver, 98 Cal. App. 4th 48 (Cal. Ct. App. 2002)



  • University of Nebraska at Lincoln College of Law (J.D.)
  • University of Nebraska (B.S.)

Licensed to Practice in

  • California
  • Nebraska


Events, Seminars & Speaking Engagements

  • Co-Chair, 2021 CLM National Construction Conference (September 2021)
  • Co-Chair, 2020 CLM National Construction Conference (October 2020)
  • Co-Chair, 2019 CLM National Construction Conference, San Diego (October 2019)
  • Disasters in the Making – Litigation Impacts from Fire, Flood and Hurricanes, West Coast Casualty Conference, Anaheim (May 2019)
  • Game Changing Trends Impacting Construction Litigation: Strategies and Practice Pointers for 2019 and Beyond, DRI Construction Conference (2019)
  • Changing Face of Construction Litigation: Emerging Trends Which Are Disrupting the Industry, CLM Annual Conference (2019)
  • Emerging Issues in Habitability Litigation, Indianapolis (November 2019)
  • Co-Chair, 2018 CLM National Construction Conference, Chicago (October 2018)
  • Strategies and Practice Pointers for Emerging Issues in Habitability and Hospitality Claims (Denver, October 2018)
  • Building Collapse Issues: Intersection of Construction Defect and Catastrophic Injury, CLM National Construction Conference (2018)
  • Co-Chair, 2017 CLM National Construction Conference, San Diego (October 2017)
  • Co-Chair, 2016 CLM National Construction Conference, San Diego (September 2016)
  • Emerging Trends in Construction and Litigation:  National Overview, Premier Panel, CLM National Construction Conference (September 2016)
  • Legalized Marijuana:  Will the Insurance Industry Inhale, CLM Southern California Conference (July  2015)
  • Utilizing Technology in Litigation:  Cutting Edge Strategies for Handling and Disposition of Litigated Matters, West Coast Casualty Seminar, Anaheim, California (May 2015)
  • Social Media and Litigation:  Ethical Landmines, Admissibility at Trial and Emerging Issues in Litigation, CLM Annual Conference, 2015
  • Legalized Marijuana – Will the Insurance Industry Inhale, Southern California Conference, CLM (Irvine, 2015)
  • Cannabis: Legal Issues Emanating from the Legalization of Marijuana: Impacts on Employment, Insurance, Products Liability and Litigation, CLM (Los Angeles, 2015)
  • Use of Technology at Trial, West Coast Casualty Seminar, Anaheim, California (May 2014)
  • What the Future Holds for Construction Defect Litigation in 2013 and Beyond, West Coast Casualty Seminar, Anaheim, California (May 2013)
  • Social Media – Who’s Peeking into Your Privacy and Effective Mediation Techniques, CLM Seminar, San Francisco (May 2, 2013)
  • Effective Use of Social Media to Develop Critical Evidence to Win Your Case: Practice Pointers and Pitfalls in Investigating Fraudulent Claims, Southern California Fraud Investigators Conference (November 2012)
  • Building Product Failures – Leading to Class Action Lawsuits? MC2 18th Annual West Region Construction & Insurance Coverage Conference (September 20, 2012)
  • Social Networking Sites: Strategies, Ethical Pitfalls and Practice Pointers for Litigating and Winning Your Case, West Coast Casualty Seminar, Anaheim, California (May 2012)



Community Activities

  • University of Nebraska Foundation, Trustee
  • March of Dimes, Past Chairman of the Board of Directors,
  • Alzheimer’s Association, Past Board of Directors Member
  • Levitt & Quinn (public aid law firm), Past President, Board of Governors
  • Construction Defect Community Charitable Foundation, Past Board Member and Past President
  • March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction 2011 and 2012, Event Chair
  • University of Nebraska College of Law Entrepreneurship Clinic, Board of Advisors


  • Litigation Counsel of America Trial Lawyer Honorary Society, Fellow
  • Council on Litigation Manager Los Angeles, Board Member and Director of Education
  • Council on Litigation Management Alliance, Member
  • California Building Industry Association Legal Action Subcommittee, Member
  • Defense Research Institute, Member
  • Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS), Member
  • National Association of Home Builders Construction Law Attorney Forum, Member
  • Building Industry Association of Southern California, Member
  • Association of Southern California Defense Counsel (ASCDC), Member
  • AGC Legal Advisory Committee, Member
  • Risk and Insurance Management Society, Inc. (RIMS), Member
  • Mealey’s Toxic Tort Advisory Council, Former Member
  • Construction Litigation, Corporate Counsel (2010)
  • Nebraska Law College Alumni Council

Honors & Recognitions

  • 2023 Law360 Distinguished  Legal Writing Award Winner 
  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Named a Southern California Super Lawyer (2006 - 2020, 2022)
  • RISE Mentor of the Year Award (2022)

  • Claims & Litigation Management Alliance, Outside Counsel Professional of the Year Award (2019)
  • Named a Top Attorney by Pasadena Magazine (2013 - 2020)
  • Named a Top Attorney in Southern California by Los Angeles Magazine (2007 - 2020)
  • Jerrold S. Oliver Award of Excellence (first defense attorney recognized for contributing to the improvement of the construction-defect community) (2002)

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