Brett M. Henne


Brett Henne started his career in 1989 with the Grayslake Fire Protection District, working his way up to the position of Fire Marshal, Certified Fire Investigator through the International Association of Arson Investigators, and as a licensed paramedic. From there he served as an Assistant State’s Attorney for the Lake County State’s Attorney's Office. His experience includes trials of civil and criminal matters before juries, judges and arbitrators, both as a private attorney and as an Assistant State’s Attorney. He has tried over 60 cases to verdict, from property related crimes to murder to medical malpractice. His immense experience in the medical field, fire and explosion investigation and construction field coupled with his vast trial experience allows Brett to efficiently and zealously represent his clients’ interests throughout all phases of litigation. At Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP, Brett serves as vice chair of the Fire and Explosion Practice Group.


General Trial Practice
Fire and Explosion Litigation
Medical Negligence and Healthcare
Commercial Litigation and Business Disputes
Pharmaceutical and Medical Device
Occupational Health and Safety (OSHA)
Civil Rights and Governmental Liability

Memberships & Affiliations

  • Adjunct Instructor, Fire Administration and the Law, College of Lake County, Lake County, Illinois, 2001-present
  • Teen Court Judge, Lake County, Illinois, 2009-present
  • Lake County Bar Association
  • Illinois Bar Association
  • Wisconsin Bar Association
  • Illinois Fire Chiefs Association
  • International Association of Arson Investigators
  • International Association of Arson Investigators–Illinois Chapter
  • International Association of Arson Investigators – Wisconsin Chapter
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI)
  • Society of Trial Lawyers


  • Speaker, "Product Liability: The Life of a Potential Fire Claim," Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Cincinnati, Ohio, April 2023
  • Speaker, “Why Can’t I Testify, “ IAAI Indiana Chapter, Indianapolis, Indiana, August 2018
  • Speaker, “Expert Foundation – Arson,” Lake County Bar Association, Lake County Illinois, May 2018
  • Speaker, “Why Can’t I Testify,” IAAI Ohio Chapter, Ohio’s Division of State Fire Marshal, Reynoldsburg, Ohio, March 2018
  • Speaker, “Fire Investigation in Today’s Environment,” Will, Cook, Grundy County Fire Investigation Task Force, Tinley Park, Illinois, March 2017
  • Speaker, “Fire Investigation from a Legal Perspective,” Illinois Fire Service Institute, May 2016
  • Speaker, “Fire Investigation in Today’s Environment,” IAAI Illinois Chapter, Rockford, Illinois, October 2015 
  • Presenter, "The Independent Private Investigation and Complex Litigation," Fire Investigators Strike Force, Hoffman Estates, Illinois, May 2015 
  • “Arson for Prosecutors,” National Advocacy Center for the National District Attorneys Association, Columbia, South Carolina, October 2010


February 12, 2024
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Exhibits at ASA Chicago's Annual Construction Expo & Safety Conference
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP is thrilled to exhibit at the 2024 Construction Expo & Safety Conference, co-hosted by ASA Chicago – Association of Subcontractors & Affiliates and the Construction Safety Council, on March 5 in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois.

July 10, 2023
Henne to Speak at 2023 DRI Fire Science and Litigation Seminar
Partner Brett M. Henne will present "A Fire Investigator's Perspective on Defending Fire Claims and Cross-Examining Witnesses," at DRI's 2023 Fire Science and Litigation Seminar on August 16-18 in Washington, D.C.

April 03, 2023
Monaco and Henne to Present at 2023 AEM Product Safety & Compliance and Product Liability Seminar
Partners Anthony J. Monaco and Brett M. Henne will present at the 2023 Product Safety & Compliance and Product Liability Seminar, hosted by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), on April 24-27 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

March 13, 2023
Henne Named to Crain's 2023 Notable Litigators and Trial Attorneys List
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP is pleased to announce that partner Brett M. Henne has been named to Crain's Chicago Business' 2023 Notable Litigators and Trial Attorneys list. The feature recognizes top litigators and trial attorneys in the Chicago metro area for their litigation success, accomplishments, and commitment to their clients and communities.

February 03, 2023
Henne, Masini to Present at Chicago Healthcare Risk Management Society Winter Meeting
Partner Brett Henne and associate Isabella Masini will present at the Chicago Healthcare Risk Management Society's (CHRMS) Winter Meeting on February 10 in Oakbrook Terrace, IL.

Chicago, May 21, 2021
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Obtains Defense Verdict In High-Stakes In-Person Jury Trial
In one of the first in-person civil litigation jury trials in Lake County since the COVID-19 pandemic, the plaintiff asked the jury for nearly $15 million in lost wages, past and future pain and suffering and disfigurement.

Chicago, January 31, 2020
Monaco Inducted Into Society of Trial Lawyers
Monaco focuses his practice on Product Liability, Class Action Defense, and Commercial Litigation and Business Disputes.

Chicago, June 19, 2018
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Obtains Five Defense Verdicts in 25 Days
In a span of 25 days from late April to late May 2018, Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP attorneys obtained five defense verdicts at trial on behalf of clients in five Medical Negligence and Healthcare cases in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.

Chicago, Libertyville, March 2, 2017
Henne, Firm Attorneys Speak at Fire Investigation Task Force Presentation
Over 100 people listened to the four attorneys present on Fire Investigations in Today's Environment.

Chicago, January 12, 2016
Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Names New Partners
Clyder and Haddox practice in Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP’s Chicago office, while Henne practices in the firm’s Libertyville office.

Chicago, Libertyville, May 18, 2015
Henne, Firm Attorneys Speak at Fire Investigators Strike Force Presentation
Five Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP attorneys spoke on "The Independent Private Investigation and Complex Litigation,"

Libertyville, February 7, 2014
Libertyville Office Volunteers with Feed My Starving Children
Participants packed 21 boxes of food that was then shipped to malnourished children in the Philippines.

  • Bar Admissions
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  • Education
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