Nina Cortell


Education and Clerkships

J.D., University of Texas at Austin School of Law, 1976, cum laude; Associate Editor, Texas Law Review; Teaching Quizmaster

B.A., University of Texas at Austin, 1973, summa cum laude, Plan II (liberal arts honors program)

Bar Admissions



For almost four decades, Nina Cortell has represented corporations, public entities and individuals in cases that have put her at the forefront of Texas litigation practice.  Chambers USA Guide ranks her as one of the top appellate lawyers in Texas, and Benchmark Litigation notes her expertise “as it relates to trial, appellate, and crisis management,” quoting a competitor who calls her “one of the top two or three in the state.”  She has also been named several times as one of the top ten lawyers in Texas by Texas Super Lawyers, and by Texas Lawyer as one of twenty "Winning Women" across Texas who "have achieved significant recent victories as well as a track record of wins in which they prevailed in high-stakes cases.”

Nina’s record includes significant victories in both state and federal appellate courts, as well as in trial courts.  Recent examples include the voiding of a $29 million liquidated damage provision in the Texas Supreme Court, affirmance of $3.6 billion plan of reorganization in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, reversal of a highly contested venue order in the Dallas Court of Appeals, and dismissal of a shareholder derivative suit in the trial court.  

Nina also places a high priority on community service.  She is proud of her role as a co-founder of the Center for Women in Law at the University of Texas School of Law, which is devoted to enhancing the success of women in law and serves as a national resource to convene leaders, generate ideas, and lead change. Nina also works actively with the judiciary to improve the judicial process.  Her current work includes her service on the prestigious Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee, which is comprised of judges and attorneys from across the state and advises the Court in connection with its rule-making authority.

For her community service, Nina is honored to have received the 2013 Jack Pope Professionalism Award from the Texas Center for Legal Ethics (given annually to one lawyer who personifies the highest standards of professionalism and integrity in the field of law), the 2012 University of Texas School of Law Distinguished Alumnus Award for Community Service, and the 1999 Louise B. Raggio Award for significant contributions toward the advancement of women in the legal profession.

Lawyer of the Year

Best Lawyers

Haynes and Boone Lawyers Featured as “2015 Lawyers of the Year”

Best Lawyers® has recognized seven Texas-based Haynes and Boone, LLP attorneys as “2015 Lawyers of the Year.” Based on peer-review surveys, the legal guide designated a single lawyer per practice specialty in each geographic region.

Selected Client Representations

  • Invalidated $29 million liquidated damages provision in renewable energy contract. FPL Energy, LLC v. TXU Portfolio Mgmt. Co., L.P., 426 S.W.3d 59 (Tex. 2014). 
  • Reversed venue order. Union Pac. R.R. Co. v. Stouffer, 420 S.W.3d 233 (Tex.App. - Dallas 2013). 
  • Obtained dismissal of shareholder derivative suit in the trial court. In re AT&T, Inc. Shareholder Derivative Litigation, Dallas County Court of Law No. 3 (2013). 
  • Affirmed order disqualifying counsel. In re RSR Corporation, 2013 WL 242317405 (Tex. App. - Dallas 2013). 
  • Obtained $7 million summary judgment on guaranty, overcoming claims that guaranty was fraudulently procured. Texas Capital Bank v. Tri-County Autoplex,162nd Judicial District Court, Dallas, Texas (2012). 
  • Reversed temporary injunction on ground that agreements were not enforceable as a matter of law; after court of appeals' ruling, opponent dismissed its suit.Anland North, L.P., et al v. Center Operating Company, Cause No. 05-12-00128-CV (Tex. App. - Dallas 2012). 
  • After filing of opening appellate briefs, opponent agreed to settle commercial dispute for almost $200 million less than its judgment. i2 Technologies, Inc. v. Dillards, Cause No. 05-10-01645-CV (Tex. App. -Dallas 2011). 
  • Persuaded the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the appeal of a $3.6 billion bankruptcy plan of reorganization, which was challenged by a competing bidder and the company's union. In the Matter of Asarco L.L.C., Cause No. 09-41259 (5th Cir. 2010). 
  • Obtained remittitur in the district court prior to appeal, reducing punitive damages award by $77.6 million. IRCC, et al. v. Harold Simmons, et al., 192nd Judicial District Court, Dallas, Texas (2009). 
  • Obtained mandamus review in the Texas Supreme Court on behalf of a large bank group in $26 billion dispute. In re Citigroup, Cause No. 08-0289 (Tex. 2008). 
  • Reversed $8.5 million judgment adverse to client and obtained rendition of $2.5 million judgment in favor client. Blockbuster Inc. v. C-Span and Sunil Dharod, 276 S.W.3d 482 (Tex. Civ. App. – Dallas 2008, pet. granted and judgm't vacated pursuant to settlement).

Professional and Community Activities

  • Fellow, American Academy of Appellate Lawyers 
  • President (2005-2007) and Master, Patrick E. Higginbotham Inn of Court 
  • Member, Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee 
  • Member, American Law Institute 
  • President (2008-2009), University of Texas School of Law Alumni Association 
  • President, Board of Directors of the Texas Law Review Association (2012-2013) 
  • Founder and President, Center for Women in Law at the University of Texas School of Law 
  • Trustee, University of Texas Law School Foundation  
  • Trustee, Dallas Bar Foundation 
  • Advisory Board Member, Dallas Women Lawyers Association (2000-2009) 
  • Chair, State Bar Task Force on Hiring, Retention and Promotion of Women and Minorities in Law Firms and Corporations (2006)

Professional Recognition

  • Selected by Lawdragon as a member of the Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America, 2014-2015
  • Named by Texas Lawyer as one of twenty "Winning Women" in the state (2014)
  • Chosen by the Texas Center for Legal Ethics (TCLE) to receive one of two 2013 Jack Pope Professionalism Awards, which annually recognize one lawyer and one judge who personify the highest standards of professionalism and integrity in the field of law
  • Best Lawyers' 2015 Dallas Appellate Lawyer of the Year and 2013 Dallas Bet-the-Company Litigation Lawyer of the Year, with other recognitions in both categories 2006-2015.
  • Recognized in Chambers USA Guide - America's Leading Lawyers for Business (Appellate, Band 1) (2008-2014)
  • Top 10 "Texas Super Lawyers" (2010-2014) and Top 100 "Texas Super Lawyers," Top 100 "Super Lawyers in the Dallas/Fort Worth Region," and "Top 50 Female Texas Super Lawyers" (2003-2014)
  • Named "Top Notch Appellate Lawyer" in Texas Lawyer's Go-To Guide (2012)
  • Recognized as one of the Top 250 Women in Litigation, Benchmark Litigation, Legal Media Group, Euromoney Institutional Investor (2012-2014)
  • Selected by Dallas Bar Association as "Outstanding Lawyer of the Year" (2009)
  • One of the top appellate lawyers in Dallas, D Magazine (every year list published, 2003-2014)
  • University of Texas School of Law Distinguished Alumnus Award for Community Service (2012)
  • Higginbotham Inn of Court's 2012 selection to Honorary Serjeant's Inn, in recognition of significant contributions to the profession and community
  • State Bar of Texas Presidential Citation for leadership in furthering the Bar's diversity initiatives (2007)
  • Louise B. Raggio Award for significant contributions toward the advancement of women in the legal profession (1999)
  • Martindale Hubbell® Law Directory with a Peer Review Rating of AV® Preeminent™ 


Super Lawyers

Repeat Recognition as 2014 Texas Super Lawyers

Texas Super Lawyers has once again recognized Haynes and Boone in its annual award listing, with seven firm attorneys featured in the Tops of Texas honors.

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