Practice Areas

  • Appellate
  • Banking and Financial Institutions
  • Complex Commercial Litigation
  • Insurance Defense
  • Labor & Employment
  • Litigation
  • Real Estate
  • Real Estate Litigation
  • Retail, Restaurants & Hospitality


  • California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California

Heather E. Stern


Phone: 949.209.9555
Office: Orange County

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BackgroundEducation & HonorsAwardsAssociations

Heather E. Stern is a member of the litigation and real estate practice groups at Messner Reeves LLP and has provided legal advice and expert services to businesses and individuals since 2001.

Ms. Stern attended Columbia College, of Columbia University in the City of New York, as an undergraduate, obtaining a B.A. in 1998. After graduating from UCLA School of Law with the distinction of Order of the Coif in 2001, she worked as an associate for a large real estate law firm where she gained a broad-based real estate expertise handling a wide variety of litigation, land use and transactional matters for real estate clients, and among other things, garnered expertise in construction, environmental, leasing, insurance, and title related matters. Ms. Stern also handled a number of significant business litigation and labor and employment matters for her real estate clients.

After the mortgage meltdown of 2008, Ms. Stern began utilizing her real estate expertise to assist numerous financial services clients and public entity clients in handling REO related real estate matters and mortgage banking related matters arising out of the mortgage crisis. She has since handled hundreds of mortgage banking and title related matters, including appellate matters, earning significant wins for her financial services and public entity clients. She has testified as an expert witness in handling real estate litigation matters and is viewed as a thought leader in this area.

Ms. Stern’s broad base of litigation expertise through market highs and market lows is an asset to all of her business, real estate, and individual clients. Ms. Stern has also served in-house as a real estate counsel handling a wide variety of acquisition and disposition and leasing related matters, including title, due diligence, land use, environmental, and general corporate work. She brings her knowledge of litigation to help her transactional clients “see around corners” and confront deal issues with clear promissory language and clear remedies, so as to avoid future disputes.

  • B.A., Columbia College (1998)
  • J.D., UCLA School of Law (2001)
  • Outstanding Service Award, CEB (2013)
  • Recognized as a Top Attorney by Pasadena Magazine (2012, 2013, 2014)
  • Southern California Super Lawyers Rising Star (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012)
  • Member, State Bar of California, 2001 to present
  • Member, Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, 2008 to present.
Publications and Speaking Engagements
  • Speaker, Making Your Business ADA Compliant, November 2019 (Civil Justice Association of California)
  • Speaker, California’s Anti-Deficiency Laws, October 2019 (Residential Mortgage Lending Group)
  • Speaker, Real Estate Boilerplate Contract Fundamentals, December 2016 (Lorman Education Services)
  • Speaker, “The Lawsuit Is About Boilerplate – Important Considerations of Typical Contract Provisions,” Business Law Section, Beverly Hills Bar Association (March 2009 & November 2009)
  • Panelist, “Be Careful What You Wish For: Is Binding Arbitration Really Better Than Litigation?,” LACBA Trial Practice Inn of Court (December 2010)
  • Moderator, “Exploring the Uncharted Waters of Valuation in Today’s Commercial Real Estate Market,” Benjamin Crocker Symposium, panel discussion (March 2010)
  • “How to Use an iPad to Manage and Present Trial Exhibits,” Los Angeles Lawyer magazine (November 2013)
    Update Author, “Lender and Broker Liability” (CEB, Chapter 12, California Mortgages, Deeds of Trust, and Foreclosure Litigation (2013 & 2014)
  • “Rights in Foreclosure: The National Mortgage Settlement and Homeowners’ Bill of Rights provide significant enforcement mechanisms to deter careless foreclosure practices,” Los Angeles Lawyer (January 2013)
  • “California Property Owners Beware: A New Law Imposes Stricter Penalties For The Failure to Report Entity Reorganizations That Trigger A ‘Change In Ownership’ For Property Tax Purposes,” The Corporate Counselor (LACBA Corporate Law Departments Section, Winter 2010)
    Consulting Editor, “California Ground Lease Practice” (CEB, Chapter 14, Condemnation) (2009)
  • “What’s the Rent?” Commercial Property News (February 2008)
  • “Well Grounded: A successful provision for adjusting the rent in ground leases will include a clear appraisal method and an alternative dispute resolution procedure,” Los Angeles Lawyer (April 2007)
Community Involvement
  • President, Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles (WLALA), 2018-2019.
  • Served as Executive Committee Member for WLALA and affiliated charitable non-profit WLALA Foundation from 2013-2019
  • Member of the Board of Governors for WLALA from 2009 to 2021
  • Advisory Board Member for the Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB), 2015 to present
  • CEB Real Property Advisory Committee Member, 2007-2013
Professional Experience
  • In-House Real Estate Counsel, Higher Ground Education Inc.
  • Partner, Parker Ibrahim & Berg LLP
  • Partner, Kralik & Jacobs LLP
  • Associate, Cox Castle & Nicholson LLP

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Messner Reeves LLP
1550 Wewatta St. Suite 710
Denver, CO 80202
Phone: (303) 623-1800.