Steven A. Benefield's Profile

Steven A. Benefield  has handled a wide variety of matters in his more than 35 years of practice. His practice focuses on strategic planning and litigation regarding tax, estate, trust, and business matters for individuals and businesses, fiduciaries and beneficiaries. His practice includes business, partnership and corporate transactions, entity selection, formation, dissolution, and operational issues, mergers and acquisitions for buyers and sellers, exit strategy planning for business owners, and trust and estate planning for individuals.

Mr. Benefield has tried over 40 cases to a conclusion in state and federal courts and argued multiple appeals in the Alabama Supreme Court and U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Litigated matters have included severe personal injury and death cases involving burns and other trauma resulting from automobile accidents, product defects, and premises liability, a broad range of business and commercial actions involving fraud, antitrust, securities violations, ERISA, fiduciary liability, contracts, interference with business and contractual relations, trade secrets, covenants not to compete, general commercial contract matters under the UCC and common law, construction litigation, Miller Act claims (state and federal), professional liability claims against lawyers, engineers and veterinarians, RICO, injunctions and other equitable remedies, actions to determine individual capacity in property transfers and donative intent, will contests, conservatorships, guardianships, and contested settlement of estates and trusts, insurance coverage issues, interpleader actions, as well as income, gift and estate tax matters before the Internal Revenue Service and Alabama Department of Revenue from audit through appeal and in the U.S. Tax Court.

Mr. Benefield is a Fellow of the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel, where he is a member of the Fiduciary Litigation, Professional Responsibility, and Diversity Committees and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America since 2006 -2019 in the fields of tax law, business organizations, and trusts and estates. He was named the 2014 Birmingham Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships) “Lawyer of the Year.”  Mr. Benefield received the AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale Hubbell.  Birmingham Magazine named him as a 2019 Top Attorney in the fields of ERISA, trusts and estates. He has been certified as a Merger & Acquisition Advisor by the Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors.

Mr. Benefield is registered as a general and appellate mediator in state and federal courts, is active with the Boy Scouts of America, having received the Silver Beaver award, District Award of Merit, Eagle Scout, and Vigil Honor, Order of the Arrow.  Mr. Benefield has been an active member of the First United Methodist Church of Birmingham for over 35 years and believes that God loves us unconditionally, that God commands us to love one another the same way, and that love requires actions more than mere words.

Some of Mr. Benefield’s publications include “Getting to 8x and Beyond – How are High Multiple Transactions Created in Good Markets and Bad?”; “No Plan for the Succession of Your Business?  Plan for the Business to Fail,” in Family and Business Succession Planning Strategies: Leading Lawyers on Navigating Key Tax Issues, Dealing with Family Concerns, and Avoiding Potential Pitfalls for Closely Held Businesses, 51. Mr. Benefield has been both the speaker and author of extensive materials for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminars too numerous to list on business formation, business exit strategy planning, estate planning and administration, ethics, professional liability, and related matters.

Mr. Benefield currently chairs the Alabama Law Institute Committee on Guardianship Reform. He is a member of the Alabama State Bar, the American Bar Association, and several sections in both organizations.


  • University of Alabama School of Law, LL.M. Taxation, 1985
  • University of Alabama School of Law, J.D., 1983
  • Birmingham-Southern College, B.A., 1980

Bar Admissions

  • Alabama State Bar, 1983
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama

Previous Positions

  • Phelps Dunbar, LLP, Senior Partner, 2021-2022
  • Cabaniss, Johnston, Gardner, Dumas, & O'Neal, LLP, Partner, 2015-2021
  • Christian & Small, LLP, Partner, 2000-2015
  • Christian & Small, LLP, Managing Partner, 2000-2004
  • Rives & Peterson, Partner, 1984-2000