Connie Cornell, JD, PHR



Ms. Cornell has more than twenty five years of experience representing employers and management through administrative, mediation, arbitration, and court proceedings. While experienced in defending a myriad of claims, as one of Austin’s most experienced female employment attorneys, she is most often called upon to defend allegations of sexual harassment. Other law firms engage her to conduct in-house harassment investigations of allegations made against executives of their corporate client. Ms. Cornell also advises clients on day-to-day employment issues and works with them to develop litigation prevention policies and practices. Her in-house training for management on harassment and employment litigation prevention are immensely popular.

Education & Certificates

J.D., University of Texas School of Law, 1985
B.A., Southwestern University, summa cum laude, 1982

Ms. Cornell is Board Certified in Labor and Employment law from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Ms. Cornell has held her certification as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) through the HR Certification Institute since 1993.

Honors & Awards

Ms. Cornell has been selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© since 2010 in the categories of Employment Law –  Management and Labor Law – Management.  She was recognized in 2014 by Best Lawyers® as Austin’s “Lawyer of the Year” in the area of Labor Law – Management.  Each year since 2003, she has been recognized in the area of Labor and Employment Law by inclusion in the list of “Texas Super Lawyers” published in Super Lawyers Magazine and Texas MonthlyThe Austin Business Journal listed her in the field of labor and employment law in its “Best of Business Law 2004,” and as an “Attorney to Watch” in 2005.  Attorneys listed in the “Best of Business Law” are selected by representatives from the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism, the Texas Bar Foundation, the Austin Bar Association, and the State Bar of Texas.

Since 1995, Ms. Cornell has received Martindale-Hubbell’s AV Preeminent® rating, the highest rating possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards, based on a peer review process reflecting the confidential opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. She is named in the Martindale-Hubbell®’s 2017 Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers.™

Lectures & Presentations

Ms. Cornell is a frequent speaker on various labor and employment issues, presenting to lawyers, human resource professionals, and the business community.  The following are a few of her presentations:

“Essential Employment Law: A Practical Course in the Basics,” member of a two-person faculty for 15 years, sponsored by University of Texas Law CLE.  Topics include: “Defensive Documentation from Hiring to Firing,” “Handbooks / Employment Policies,” “Investigating Sensitive Employment Complaints,” “The Family and Medical Leave Act,” and “Changes in Employment Law Impacting Compliance Efforts” – Austin, Dallas, Houston – 2002 to 2017.

“Facing a Wage & Hour Audit by the U.S. Department of Labor,” Association of Corporate Counsel, Austin Chapter, Small Law Roundtable Presentation – Austin – April 18, 2017.

Quoted in the Austin Business Journal, August 9, 2016, “The layoffs loophole: How the WARN Act works, and how companies avoid triggering it.”

“Austin’s Fair Chance Ordinance,” Cornell, Smith, Mierl, & Brutocao Seminar, Co-Presenter – Austin – June 2016.  Click here to watch the presentation.

“Technology in the Workplace,” the Texas Electrical Cooperatives 31st Annual Human Resource Conference – San Marcos – May 17, 2016.

“Employee Handbooks,” Advanced Employment Law Seminar sponsored by University of Texas Law CLE – Austin – 2015.

“Labor Law and Employment Law: Keeping Hold of a Wet Water Balloon,” 11th Annual Advanced In-House Counsel Course sponsored by University of Texas Law CLE – Dallas – August 2-3, 2012.

Co-Author, Texas Human Resources Manual, published by the Texas Association of Business, 2003 through 2011 editions.

Co-Author, Model Employee Policies and Forms for Texas Employers, published by the Texas Association of Business, 2003 through 2011 editions.

“Emerging Gender Identity Issues,” Advanced Employment Law Seminar sponsored by University of Texas Law CLE – Austin – 2010.