Center for Women in Law

Convening leaders, generating ideas, leading change.

Founding Members

Nina Cortell, ’76

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.”

Ms. Cortell’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.

Ms. Cortell 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. Ms. Cortell 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. Ms. Cortell previously served as President of the Alumni Association and President of the Texas Law Review Association.

For her community service, Ms. Cortell 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.

She is married to Dr. Robert L. Fine and has three daughters, Dr. Lauren Cortell Fine, Rachel Moreland, and Rebecca Fine (UT Law ’16).

Professional History

  • Haynes and Boone, LLP (1976 to present and partner since 1982)

Honors

  • Best Lawyers’ 2013 Dallas Bet-the-Company Litigation Lawyer of the Year, and Best Lawyers’ 2010 Dallas Appellate Lawyer of the Year
  • Recognized in Chambers USA Guide – America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (Appellate, Band 1) (2008-2013)
  • Recipient of 2013 Jack Pope Professionalism Award, given by the Texas Center for Legal Ethics to one lawyer and one judge who personify the highest standards of professionalism and integrity in the field of law
  • Best Lawyers in America for Appellate Law; Bet-the-Company Litigation; Commercial Litigation, Woodward/White, Inc. (2006-2011)
  • Selected by Dallas Bar Association as “Outstanding Lawyer of the Year” (2009)
  • Top 10 “Texas Super Lawyers,” with 2nd highest votes received (2010); Top 100 “Texas Super Lawyers,” Top 100 “Super Lawyers in the Dallas/Fort Worth Region,” and “Top 50 Female Super Lawyers” by Texas Monthly (2003-2013)
  • One of the top appellate lawyers in Dallas, D Magazine (every year list published, 2003-2010) and one of the “Best Women Lawyers” in Dallas (Appellate, 2013)
  • 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)

Selected Professional and Community Service Activities

  • Co-Founder and President, Center for Women in Law at The University of Texas School of Law
  • 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
  • Board Member, University of Texas School of Law Foundation
  • Board Member and Former President, Texas Law Review Association
  • 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)
  • Course Director, State Bar of Texas Advanced Appellate Course (2003)
  • Chair, Dallas Bar Association Bench/Bar Conference (2003)

Personal

Married to Dr. Robert L. Fine and mother of three daughters, Dr. Lauren Cortell Fine, Rachel Moreland, and Rebecca Fine (UT Law ’16).

Nina Cortell to receive the 2013 Chief Justice Jack Pope Professionalism Award

Founding Member Nina Cortell to Receive the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award for Community Service

Nina Cortell Headshot