Stephen J. Henning is the co-founder of Wood, Smith, Henning, and Berman, LLP, a prestigious Am Law 125 law firm with an international presence spanning 41 offices. Renowned for his expertise as a litigator, Steve has garnered national recognition for his exceptional results in complex construction, real estate, business, and employment litigation. He also enjoys experience handling all facets of professional liability, and toxic tort litigation.

Steve regularly represents Fortune 500 companies and prominent figures in the business community, represents some of the largest residential and commercial public and private owners, homebuilders, developers, investors, contractors, and lenders in the nation. His track record of success has solidified his reputation as a trusted legal resource for high-profile clients.

As a sought-after thought leader in the legal field, Steve is a frequent speaker and prolific author on emerging issues. In recognition of his exceptional contributions, Steve was honored with the 2019 CLM's Professional of the Year for Outside Legal Counsel award. He also is the first defense lawyer to receive the prestigious Jerold S. Oliver Award for his significant contributions to the construction community. In 2022, Steve was named the RISE Mentor of the Year, further solidifying his status as a respected leader in the industry. His exceptional legal writing skills were recognized with the prestigious 2023 Law360 Distinguished Legal Writing Award, highlighting his ability to articulate complex legal concepts with clarity and precision. In 2024, the Los Angeles Business Journal shined a light on Steve’s illustrious career recognizing him as one of the Top 100 lawyers in Los Angeles. This prestigious recognition underscores is exceptional legal acumen, leadership, and steadfast dedication to delivering excellence in every aspect of her practice.

Steve's academic background includes both an undergraduate and law degree from the University of Nebraska, where he excelled as a member of the National Trial team. He currently serves on the Dean's Advisory Board for the Law College and holds a trustee position for the University Foundation. In addition to his thriving legal practice, Steve is deeply committed to giving back to the community. He has assumed leadership roles in several national and local non-profits, including serving as the Board Chair for the March of Dimes and as a founding Board member and past President of the Construction Defect Community Charitable Foundation. Steve's dedication to public service is further exemplified by his service on the Board of Directors for Alzheimer's Greater Los Angeles and LevittQuinn, a public aid law firm. His outstanding corporate citizenship was recognized by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Consistently regarded as one of the industry's top attorneys, Steve has been featured as a "Top Attorney" in numerous publications. His two-decade plus AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, an esteemed recognition of professional excellence, underscores his standing in the legal community. Additionally, Steve has been consistently selected as a "Rising Star" or "Super Lawyer" since he started the firm, a testament to his unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional legal representation. He is a fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America, an invitation-only trial lawyer honorary society. Best Lawyers in America has honored Steve for his litigation success in both construction and real estate litigation.


  • 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

  • Named to Los Angeles Business Journal's Top 100 Lawyers List  (2024)
  • 2023 Law360 Distinguished  Legal Writing Award Winner 
  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Selected as one of the Best Lawyers in America for Litigation - Construction and Litigation - Real Estate in Los Angeles, CA (2024)
  • Named a Southern California Super Lawyer (2006 - 2020, 2022 - 2024)
  • 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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