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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.



  • BA, Western Kentucky University
  • JD, University of Kentucky

Courses Taught

  • Administrative Law
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Evidence


Mediation Practice in Kentucky - Adoption of the Uniform Mediation Act Would Help, 42 N. Ky. L. Rev. 1 (2015).

Why Are Plaintiffs Taking So Long to Respond? A Quick Peek into the Other Room, 1 Ohio Ass'n of Civil Trial Attorneys 17 (2008) (co-authored with Joseph T. modrino) SSRN   

Preparing for Successful Mediations-Kentucky Style, 68 Ky Bench & Bar 21-25 (2004)

Evidentiary Uses for Environmental Agency Inspection Reports in Kentucky: The Dangers Posed by KRE 803(8), 18 J. Nat'l Resources & Envtl. L. 147 (2004) Hein Online  

TMDL's for Nonpoint Sources In Kentucky: The Potential Impact Of Pronsolino v. Marcus, 16 J. Nat'l Resources & Envtl. L. 1 (2001) (co-authored with Monica Dias) Hein Online  

Common Law Remedies for Petroleum Contamination in Kentucky, 14 Nat. Res. & Env. L. 1 (1998) Hein Online

EPA's Hazardous Waste Identification Rule, 10 Envtl. Newsline 1 (1996)

Air Operating Permits in Kentucky: Accounting for Fugitive Emissions and Preparing the Application, 23 N. Ky L. Rev. 25 (1995) Hein Online  

Analyzing the CERCLA Liability of Owners and Operators at the Time of Disposal: When is 'Leaching' not 'Leaking'?, 24 ELR 10177 (1994)

A Fourth Glimpse of Black Lung Cases from the Sixth Circuit: Dickson v. Califano Revisited, 1983 Det. C. L. Rev. 311 (1983) Hein Online  

The Second Decade of Federal Black Lung Benefits - The Sixth Circuit Tightens the Reins, 1982 Det. C. L. Rev. 269 (1982) Hein Online  

Closing the Evidentiary Gap: A Review of Circuit Court Opinions Analyzing Federal Black Lung Presumptions of Entitlement, 1982 W. Va. L. Rev. 793 (1981) Hein Online  

Another Gasp at Part B Black Lung Benefits: The sixth Circuit Expands and Interprets Its Prior Decisions, 1981 Det. C. L. Rev. 321 (1981) Hein Online  

Commencing the Decade with Environmental Reform: the 1980 Kentucky General Assembly Implements the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, 69 Ky. L. J. 277 (1980) Hein Online  

The Spirit of the Reform Act is Implemented: A review of Recent Black Lung Decisions from the Sixth Circuit, 44 Ky Bench & Bar 6 (October 1980)

The Continuing Saga of Part B Black Lung Benefits: A Review of Recent Decisions of the Sixth Circuit, 1980 Det. C. L. Rev. 5 (1980) Hein Online

Speaking Engagements and Recognitions

Listed in Best Lawyers of America for Alternative Dispute Resolution since the inception of the category in 2005. In 2014, his peers selected him as Best Lawyers of America's "Lawyer of the Year" for Alternative Dispute Resolution for the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area.

Appointed as a commissioner to the Legislative Ethics Commission by Kentucky House of Representatives speaker Greg Stumbo and Kentucky Senate president Robert Stivers on Monday, June 2, 2014.

Selected for inclusion in, The Best Lawyers in America, Arbitration and Mediation (2015 ed.)

Federal Rules of Evidence: Significant Recent Developments, Eastern District of Kentucky Federal Bench and Bar Conference, Federal Bar Association, Lexington, KY (May 2013)

Leading panel of Kentucky mediators writing a column entitled "The Mediator’s Perspective" for each of the six issues of the Kentucky Justice Association's publication entitled "The Advocate"

Inducted into Kentucky's inaugural chapter of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals

Full Commissioner, National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws