Connie Cornell, JD, PHR





Ms. Cornell has more than thirty-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 clients. 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 trainings 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
Board Certified in Labor and Employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) through the HR Certification Institute since 1993.

Honors & Awards

Austin Monthly named Ms. Cornell among “Austin’s Top Attorneys” in Labor & Employment Law in both 2020 and 2021.  In 2020, she was further distinguished by Austin Monthly as one of only ten attorneys listed across all practice areas to receive a Legacy Award – representing “the best of the best with more than 30 years of experience.”

She has been selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© since 2010 in the categories of Employment Law –  Management, as well as Labor Law – Management.  She was also named Best Lawyers® “Lawyer of the Year” in Austin in the category of  Employment Law – Management in 2021 and in the category of Labor Law – Management in 2014.  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 Monthly by Thomson Reuters.

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.

The 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.

Representative Presentations & Publications

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:

Since 2002, she has been a member of a two-person faculty at an annual conference sponsored by the University of Texas School of Law CLE, called “Essential Employment Law: A Practical Course in the Basics.” Her 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.”  Over the years, the program has been presented by webcast, or live in Austin, Dallas, and/or Houston.

“Amendments to Texas Sexual Harassment Law,”  Texas State Bar, 19th Annual Governance of Nonprofit Organizations – Webcast – August 26, 2021.

“Achieving an Equitable Workplace,” University of Texas School of Law CLE, Nonprofit Organizations Institute – Austin – January 20-22, 2021. Joining her as co-presenter was Katrina Grider, EEOC Associate Director for Curriculum, Training, and Education – Revolving Funds Program.

“Employment Law Update 2020” presented for:  Texas State Bar’s 18th Annual Governance of Nonprofit Organization – Austin – August 20, 2020; TXCPA Austin Accounting & Finance Leaders Conference – Austin – September 23, 2020; TXCPA Austin Annual Tax Conference – Austin – November 4-5, 2020.

“Disaster Planning & Response,” University of Texas School of Law CLE, Annual Advanced Labor & Employment Law Conference for attorneys and HR professionals – Austin – May 10-11, 2018.

“Avoiding Costly Labor Mistakes,” Co-Presenter at Austin CPA Chapter’s 2017 CFO / Controllers Conference – Austin – September 21, 2017.

“Gender Issues in the Workplace,” Austin Human Resource Management Association – 2017 Annual Conference – Austin – July 27, 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.

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

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

“Labor Law and Employment Law: Keeping Hold of a Wet Water Balloon,” University of Texas School of Law CLE, 11th Annual Advanced In-House Counsel Course – 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,” University of Texas School of Law CLE, Advanced Employment Law Seminar – Austin – 2010.