Steven Cologne is the Firm’s immediate past Managing Partner serving 2017-2023. He has since returned to his litigation practice and serves as a panel arbitrator.

In addition to his law practice, Mr. Cologne achieved the distinction of being certified as a Fellow in The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) effective May 2020.  On May 4, 2020, he was admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia. In December 2020, he was appointed a Panelist with the American Arbitration Association (AAA). Mr. Cologne’s arbitration experience can be found here.

Mr. Cologne joined Higgs Fletcher & Mack in 1999 after previously enjoying 15 years as an associate, partner and shareholder with the law firm of McInnis, Fitzgerald, Rees & Sharkey, then San Diego’s premier litigation firm. Currently, he focuses on defending clients in employment litigation, breach of contract disputes, trademark litigation, and other commercial litigation matters.

In his practice, Mr. Cologne devotes substantial time advising clients in pre-litigation situations to resolve potential disputes and avoid the uncertainty and cost of litigation. His significant trial experience is of great benefit to clients by achieving the result needed for continued future success of their business. Given the fact that litigation through trial is a painful experience for clients, this approach can save significant attorney’s fees and opportunity costs. Even successful litigation clients often express regrets about the time delay and cost for justice.

As an attorney for over 30 years, Mr. Cologne primarily represents businesses in complex litigation at the state and federal level. He currently serves as the primary litigation counsel for San Diego Unified School District on a variety of claims in State and Federal court.

As an arbitrator, Mr. Cologne focuses on complex commercial disputes, including in the areas of employment, construction and professional liability.  His experience as managing partner of a law firm gives him a unique perspective as he is able to understand legal needs within a business context.

He has received the highest rating (AV) available from Martindale-Hubbell for ethics and legal ability, and has been selected by his peers and recognized by Best Lawyers in America® each year from 2008-2024. He has been named to the San Diego Super Lawyers® list since 2007. He has earned the rank of Advocate with the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), the premier association of trial attorneys, with nearly 65 jury trials to verdict. For his demonstrated leadership and vision, in 2017 The Daily Transcript named him as one of the “50 Influential Leaders” in San Diego.

In 2020, Mr. Cologne was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award by the University of San Diego School of Law. Here is a video from the Awards ceremony.

An active participant in both the legal community and the greater San Diego community at large, Mr. Cologne is a member of a number of professional organizations including the State Bar of California Labor and Employment Law section. Steve Cologne attended and reported on the 2023 Members’ Retreat to the at-large membership of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, click here to read the article.

He is a past Executive Editor of San Diego Lawyer™, the journal of the San Diego County Bar Association, and served as a Board Member of the San Diego County Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Bar. He is proud to be counsel for The Old Globe in San Diego, the top regional theatre in the country. In addition, he serves on the University of San Diego School of Law Board of Visitors for his alma mater.

In his free time, he enjoys wilderness backpacking, horseback riding, outdoor photography, and foreign travel.


  • How the Covid-19 Crisis has Reshaped the Presentation, Techniques & Tactics in Arbitration Practice,” ALFA International Client Seminar, March 3, 2023 (Moderator)

Awards & Honors

  • Distinguished Alumni Award, University of San Diego School of Law (Ceremony Video)
  • San Diego Business Journal, San Diego 500 List of Most Influential People in San Diego, under the category of Professional Services (2017-2023)
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in America® (2008-2024), Commercial and Personal Injury Litigation
  • San Diego Magazine "Top Lawyers," recognized by Martindale-Hubbell® as an AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated Lawyer (2020)
  • San Diego Super Lawyers® (2007-2023)
  • Daily Transcript, 50 Influential Leaders in San Diego (2017)
Steven J. Cologne
Rated by Super Lawyers

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  • State Bar of California
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • Supreme Court Historical Society
  • American Board of Trial Advocates (Earned the Rank of Advocate)
  • Fellow, The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb)
  • The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) North American Branch (NAB) Board Member
  • Panelist, AAA
American Arbitration Association American Board of Trial Advocates
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