Kristen E. Caverly






Civil & Commercial Litigation

Trust Administration & Probate

Estate & Trust Litigation

Kristen E. Caverly is a founding partner of Henderson, Caverly & Pum LLP, and she is the Chair of the Litigation Group at the firm.  Ms. Caverly provides advice, counsel and representation to Henderson, Caverly & Pum LLP clients in estate and trust controversies and administration, civil and commercial litigation, and business disputes.

Ms. Caverly’s trial experience includes bench and jury trials.  For example, Ms. Caverly has handled a breach of license trial resulting in judgment for the client of $174,900,000; a personal property valuation trial resulting in judgment for the client of more than $7,600,000; a breach of fiduciary duty trial resulting in judgment for the client of more than $1,000,000 plus injunctive relief; a breach of fiduciary duty trial resulting in defense verdict for the client; a breach of guarantee trial resulting in judgment for the client of more than $1,000,000; a prescriptive easement trial resulting in defense judgment for the client; and other successful outcomes for clients in numerous estate and trust controversies. These outcomes were case specific and not intended to suggest that another client will be successful in his/her case.

Ms. Caverly also handles appeals and is counsel of record in Haggery v. Thornton, 68 Cal. App. 5th 1003 (2021), review granted; Turner v. Victoria, 67 Cal. App. 5th 1099 (2021), review granted; Dunlap v. Mayer, 63 Cal. App. 5th 419 (2021); Sefton v. Sefton, 206 Cal. App. 4th 875 (2012); People ex rel. Herrera v. Stender, 212 Cal. App. 4th 614 (2012); and Mycogen Corp. v. Monsanto Co., 28 Cal. 4th 888 (2002).

Ms. Caverly is a Fellow in the prestigious American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (“ACTEC”) and is certified as a Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Ms. Caverly is a Senior Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, Barrister, Order of Centurions, Order of Veritas and Order of Certus, an invitation only, trial lawyer honorary society composed of less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers. Ms. Caverly is a member of the Trial Law Institute and Diversity Law Institute.  Ms. Caverly also served as a member of the Executive Committee for the California State Bar Trusts and Estates Section and now serves on the Successor Committee for the California Lawyers Association.  Ms. Caverly served from 2021-2022 as Editor-in-Chief of the California Trusts and Estates Quarterly.

Ms. Caverly is named as a Best Lawyers in America® in the areas of Estate and Trust Litigation and Commercial Litigation. Ms. Caverly also has been recognized repeatedly as a California “Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers® magazine in estate and trust litigation and was chosen as one of San Diego’s top 50 attorneys across all fields of law for each of 2018-2022 and one of San Diego’s top 25 women attorneys for each of 2013-2022.  Ms. Caverly has been named “Top Lawyers in San Diego” by San Diego Magazine and “Top Attorney in Southern California.” Ms. Caverly also has received the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards (“AV Preeminent”) from the Martindale Hubbell® peer review rating service and has been selected for the Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers.

Ms. Caverly is the author of “Representing the Beneficiary – Defining Client’s Goals and Managing Expectations” published as Chapter 1 of Hartog and Kovar, Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Trust Litigation (2011), and “Help Clients Grant the Right Level of Trustee Discretion” published in the December 2012 issue of Estate Planning.  Ms. Caverly co-authored the 2019 legislative update for the Quarterly with HCP partner Lisa Roper and co-authored the 2021 Quarterly article Whose Money is it Anyway?  Making Cents of the California Uniform Principal and Income Act with Ms. Roper and HCP litigation attorney Stephen Blea.  Ms. Caverly has lectured on various estate administration and estate and trust litigation topics, including at the 2016 ACTEC annual meeting in Las Vegas, the University of Washington Law School’s 61st Estate Planning Seminar in Seattle, ALI-ABA’s 2012 Estate Planning in Depth at the University of Wisconsin Law School, The Southern California Tax & Estate Planning Forum, the National Business Institute, North County Estate Planning Counsel, San Diego Estate Planning Counsel, and Legal Secretaries, Incorporated. Ms. Caverly and partner Nancy G. Henderson co-authored the 2008 two-part article Planning for Family Vacation Homes, published in the Quarterly.

Ms. Caverly obtained her law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law, where she graduated second in her class and was elected to the Order of the Coif.  Ms. Caverly was Executive Editor of the San Diego Law Review from 1993 to 1994.

Ms. Caverly is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and for the Ninth Circuit, all California state courts, the United States District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, Central and Southern Districts of California, and the United States Patent & Trademark Office.

Prior to forming Henderson, Caverly & Pum LLP, Ms. Caverly was an attorney with the law firm of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, LLP. Before attending law school, Ms. Caverly was a physical scientist for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Ninyo & Moore Environmental Consultants, and TorStan, Inc. Environmental Services. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Zoology from the University of Maryland.

Note: The case results discussed on this website were dependent on the facts of the particular case, and the results will differ if based on different facts.