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Henry Stephens

Henry L. Stephens Jr.
Professor of Law

"As I start my 40th year as a member of the College of Law faculty, I feel truly blessed to be able to have the opportunity to earn a living doing what I love: engaging bright, energetic students who wish to become lawyers and help them reach their dreams. For me, teaching is akin to the thrill of having three jury trials a week and winning all three! Seeing the light bulb turn on for a student makes it all worthwhile!"


Professor Stephens was Dean of the College of Law from 1986 through June, 1992. He served as Associate Dean from 1981-1985 and as Interim Dean during the 1985-86 year. He received his B.A. from Western Kentucky University in 1972 and his J.D. from the University of Kentucky in 1975, where he was a member of the Kentucky Law Journal staff and Moot Court Board. 

From October, 1978, to August, 1979, Professor Stephens was Special Assistant Attorney General and Staff Attorney for the Kentucky Department for Natural Resources and Environmental Protection. Prior to that, he spent two years as Assistant Counsel for the Louisville-Jefferson County Board of Health, and has 16 years in Litigation and Environmental practice with the firms of Middleton, Reutlinger and Baird, Robinson & McElwee and Greenebaum, Doll & McDonald PLLC.

In 1996, he completed mediator training at the Harvard College of Law Program for Instruction of Lawyers. He was selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers In America in 2005, the year the category of Alternative Dispute Resolution, was first listed, he has been so listed every year since. In 2015 he was selected as Lawyer of The year by Best Lawyers in America for Alternative Dispute Resolution for the Cincinnati Region.. He is a past President of the Kentucky Bar Foundation and past Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Center for the Resolution of Disputes, Inc. and The Hillside Trust. From 2011 through 2015, he served as one of Kentucky’s Commissioners and delegates to the Uniform Law Commission. From 2013 through 2016, he served as is a member of the Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission.

His special interests are Alternative Dispute Resolution, Trial Advocacy, Administrative Law, and Evidence. He has taught Environmental Law, Evidence, Administrative Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Trial Advocacy, Mining Law and Clinical Legal Education. His writing interests include evidence, environmental law, mediation and administrative law issues.

Most Recently in 2017-18, Professor Stephens successfully pro bono represented John Robert (“Johnny) Boone in a federal criminal prosecution for growing marijuana. Had the Government been successful, Boone would have been incarcerated for life. The success of a motion to exclude evidence seized during an illegal search convinced the government to offer Boone five years, reduced by the Judge and time served to 32 months.