Nina Cortell Named Outstanding Lawyer of the Year


Haynes and Boone, LLP partner Nina Cortell, a 32-year veteran in the firm’s Dallas office, has been named the Dallas Bar Association’s 2009 Outstanding Lawyer of the Year.

Ms. Cortell was selected for her unbridled commitment to success and excellence on behalf of her clients and her significant contributions to the field of law.

Dallas Bar Association President Christina Melton Crain explained: “Nina Cortell is not just a well-respected lawyer and a zealous advocate for her clients, but she has been a shining example to many lawyers, including myself. She is adept at handling complex matters and always portrays a unique finesse. We admire her commitment to professionalism and involvement in the legal community, but we honor her also for her willingness to mentor young lawyers throughout her career.”

Ms. Cortell became the first female attorney at Haynes and Boone in 1976, and was named Haynes and Boone’s first female partner in 1982. She helped found the firm’s appellate section, and was instrumental in establishing appellate practice as a specialty in Texas. Today Haynes and Boone boasts one of the state’s largest appellate practices with 19 full-time appellate practitioners.

In a career defined by landmark victories, Ms. Cortell has represented corporations, individuals, and public entities in appeals that have put her at the forefront of Texas appellate practice. She helped obtain a ruling from the Texas Supreme Court overhauling the Texas public school finance system, persuaded the trial and appellate courts to allow Continental Airlines to fly out of Love Field, and helped Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway secure a train route in Houston.

Ms. Cortell is frequently asked to lend her experience to assist the courts judicial process issues. At the request of Chief Judge Barefoot Sanders, Ms. Cortell chaired a task force investigating ways to improve the efficiency of the federal courts. Chief Judge Joe Fish recruited her assistance with the appointment of magistrate judges. Ms. Cortell also serves on the prestigious Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee. The committee of Texas judges and attorneys advises the Court in connection with its rule-making authority.

Ms. Cortell’s dedication extends to the legal community. She is a fellow in the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, a member of the American Law Institute, and a Master and prior President of the Patrick E. Higginbotham Inn of Court. Ms. Cortell also chaired the State Bar Task Force on Women and Minorities, which earned her the State Bar of Texas Presidential Citation for leadership.

A graduate of the University of Texas and the UT School of Law, Nina is a loyal servant to her alma mater. She currently serves as president of the University of Texas School of Law Alumni Association and as a member of the board of directors of the Texas Law Review Association. She also co-founded the law school’s Center for Women in Law and continues to serve on the executive committee.

Haynes and Boone, LLP is an international corporate law firm with offices in Texas, New York, California, Washington, D.C., Mexico City and Moscow, providing a full spectrum of legal services. With almost 550 attorneys, Haynes and Boone is ranked among the largest law firms in the nation by The National Law Journal. The firm has been recognized as one of the "Best Corporate Law Firms in America" (Corporate Board Member Magazine, 2001-2009), as one of "The Best 20 Law Firms to Work For" (, 2008), and as a Top 100 law firm for both diversity (MultiCultural Law Magazine, 2009) and women (Women 3.0, 2008).

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