Cornerstone Research’s Core Values


Cindy Zollinger, Cornerstone Research’s cofounder, managing director, and director emerita, discusses our core values and explains how they set the firm apart.

Cornerstone Research was founded on four core values. They remain as relevant today as they were when the firm was founded more than thirty years ago. Our values guide our work, shape our relationships with clients and experts, and continue to inspire successive generations of our staff.

The values themselves are simple, but their impact is concrete and profound. They define not only how we work, but who we are.

When Jim Malernee, Chris Nelson, and I founded Cornerstone Research, we had three goals: building a firm that delivered objective, data-driven analysis; working with leading experts; and treating people with honesty, respect, and care. Our core values grew out of those founding goals.

The values themselves are simple, but their impact is concrete and profound. They define not only how we work, but who we are.

Dedicated to Quality Committed to Clients and Experts
Committed to Our People One-firm Firm

Given the nature of our business, we understand the importance of benchmarks. Our values enable us to keep our goals in clear view, and to measure our progress toward them. How can we strengthen our expertise and capabilities to meet our clients’ changing needs? How should we grow as a firm? How do we continue to build our culture so it represents and supports all of our people? In what ways can we give back to our communities? Our values help us to answer these questions.

We are dedicated to quality.

I cannot overstate the importance of consistent high quality in our work. We are dedicated to excellence in everything we do, and we demonstrate that commitment in a host of ways.

On the most elemental level, we focus on providing rigorous, objective, efficient analyses. The experience our people bring to casework, coupled with a collaborative approach, ensures that we have the depth of expertise and the capability to meet exacting case requirements.

On a strategic level, our dedication to quality manifests itself in how we approach our clients’ challenges. We take a mindful approach to problem solving. The matters we work on can be enormously complex, often with high stakes and significant pressures. We help clients to identify the most critical issues, assess the relevant data and information, and develop creative approaches that are grounded in research-based analyses.

Our experts are critical to providing top-quality work for our clients. We identify expert witnesses with the most relevant qualifications for each matter, drawing both from in-house practitioners and from our global network of distinguished academics, former regulators, and industry leaders.

Clients and experts rely on us.

We strive to develop relationships based on trust and respect. Clients depend on us to deliver best-in-class service that is proactive, creative, and highly attentive to detail. Experts entrust us with nothing less than their professional reputations. At every level of the firm, we approach these responsibilities as one team, with the utmost tenacity and focus. I am grateful that the quality of our work has enabled us to build longstanding relationships with both clients and experts.

One of the most exciting parts of our business is the opportunity to create and develop specialized research tools and analytical techniques to address emerging needs. Cornerstone Research is an industry leader in secure, large-scale data analytics. We have a deep understanding of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data visualization techniques, as well as sophisticated econometric and statistical methods. As the litigation and regulatory landscape continues to evolve, these innovative tools can provide clients and experts with a distinctive advantage.

Our commitment to our people promotes a highly supportive culture.

So many elements combine to make our culture special. Respect for every person. Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Teamwork in all that we do. Dedication to helping others—both within our firm and beyond—through charitable giving, volunteering, and pro bono efforts.

I am so proud of our amazing people and the culture we have built and continue to grow together. Our goal is to create an environment in which every individual in every role feels valued and able to contribute authentically and fully. I am continually inspired to work with truly caring people who celebrate one another’s successes. We come from different backgrounds and have different roles in the firm, but each of us is vital to making Cornerstone Research the very best we can be.

Everyone benefits when we live and nurture our values. Our clients benefit because our collaborative culture provides them with consistent depth and breadth of support. Our experts benefit because we provide meaningful opportunities to apply their academic research to real-world challenges. And our staff benefit from the rich, diverse culture that makes Cornerstone Research such a great place to work, learn, and have fun.

We are a “one-firm firm.”

“One-firm firm” means that when you work with Cornerstone Research, you can depend on the resources of our entire company—more than 700 people, working across eight offices—to support your project. We staff case teams across the firm, drawing on relevant experience and expertise from different offices and practices. This comprehensive cross-team collaboration provides clients and experts with extraordinary, seamless support.

We understand that leadership comes from all levels and everyone has an important role to play. Across the firm, we provide equal access and opportunity, and actively engage with one another to understand and appreciate how our differences contribute to our success. It is gratifying that our team-based approach has garnered multiple honors, including Inc. Magazine’s “Best Workplace” awards, a Gender Equity Challenge award, and multiple recognitions from Forbes as one of America’s best management consulting firms.

As we look ahead, our values will guide us toward further innovation, development, and growth. We will continue to develop novel ways to support our clients, and to identify experts who are driving leading-edge research and analytics. And we will continue to hire new generations of staff, bringing outstanding people to our firm, whose diverse skills and perspectives will enrich our work and our culture. I feel so much pride in our past and optimism about our future.

Cindy Zollinger, Cornerstone Research’s cofounder, managing director, and director emerita