Cornerstone Research at a Glance


  • "Great work-life balance, intellectually stimulating, great culture."
  • "The people are awesome, very helpful, super-smart and well informed."
  • "Challenging but rewarding learning curve. Opens doors for grad school."
  • "Low travel model."


  • "Around deadlines, the hours can get long."
  • "Lots of pressure, it can be very demanding, long training period from associate to partner."
  • "Unpredictable hours."
  • "Maintaining great culture means lots of personal investment in non-billable areas."

The Buzz

  • "Academic."
  • "Good at litigation."
  • "A good firm; a bit more focused on finance than economics."

About Cornerstone Research


The starting line

In traditional architecture, a cornerstone is a stone representing the nominal starting place in the construction of a monumental building. Cornerstone Research, a litigation consulting firm, likes to think that it provides this same starting place for clients who are in the beginning phases of a monumental legal case. In the increasingly complicated world of commercial litigation, attorneys often need help sifting through complex economic or financial issues. Cornerstone Research is the place they turn to for help. The firm has worked with top-tier law firms throughout its existence, and has represented firms in a diverse group of industries, including finance, telecommunications, high tech, manufacturing, and real estate. 

Cornerstone Research provides attorneys with consulting for many facets of the litigation process. That includes finding high-quality expert witnesses, as well as providing economic and financial analysis to attorneys as they navigate the complexities of litigation and regulatory proceedings.


To the courtroom and beyond

If you were to believe everything you see on TV, the process of preparing for a trial involves a group of lawyers debating before one of them wins over the judge or jury with an emotive argument. The reality, of course, is a lot more complicated than that-as Cornerstone Research's list of services will attest. The firm has four main areas of specialty that law firms can draw upon as they prepare for cases: consulting to attorneys; identifying and supporting expert witnesses; conducting research and analysis; and preparing for deposition and trial. 

The first of these categories is the broadest. Given the many complexities that can arise in a legal case, attorneys call upon Cornerstone Research to analyze key issues related to business, economics or finance. Cornerstone Research's consultants fill that role, bringing their expert knowledge, as well as the firm's network of faculty experts and industry specialists. In the event of a case making it into the courtroom, the firm's services can extend through the trial and even to post-trial briefs.

Stepping stone

The vast majority of undergraduates who join Cornerstone Research eventually leave to earn graduate degrees, with most pursuing MBAs. Other departing consultants choose to pursue PhDs in economics or finance, or law degrees. The firm takes formal steps to help consultants with the application process. It brings in admissions counselors from Wharton, Stanford, Duke, MIT, Kellogg and Chicago, and other top institutions to give presentations and talk to students about their respective schools and the requirements for admission.



July 2014 

Stacie Somers v. Apple, Inc.

In a case alleging an anticompetitive tie between Apple's iPod and iTunes products, Dr. Michelle Burtis, a vice president of Cornerstone Research, was retained to assess the economic basis for certifying a putative class of indirect purchasers of these products. Specifically, Dr. Burtis assessed the feasibility of using a common method to calculate damages for members of the proposed class. Read more.


Cornerstone Research Coauthors Antitrust Amicus Brief for Supreme Court

Cornerstone Research staff and experts coauthored an antitrust economist amicus curiae brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court, anticipating the Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis Inc. et al. oral arguments scheduled for March 25, 2013. The brief asked the justices not to rule that reverse payment settlements (in which the patent holder makes a payment to the alleged infringer) are presumptively illegal, warning that such a ruling would reduce the value of pharmaceutical patents, thereby lowering incentives for innovation. Read more.


Microsoft Corporation v. Motorola, Inc. et al.

Counsel for Microsoft retained Cornerstone Research and Vice President Matthew Lynde to estimate the value and range of royalties that would be consistent with Motorola Mobility's contractual obligations to license its patented standards on reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) terms. Read more.


Emerging Issues in High-Frequency Trading

Over the past few years, regulators have increasingly focused on issues surrounding financial firms that implement HFT. This focus dramatically intensified following the March 2014 release of Michael Lewis's book, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, a purported exposé of the activities employed by trading firms that use high-speed algorithms and information gathering. The release of Flash Boys also roughly coincided with an IPO announcement by one of the largest HFT firms. Read more.


Cornerstone Research Names Michael E. Burton President and CEO

Cornerstone Research, a leading provider of economic and financial consulting and analysis in commercial litigation and regulatory proceedings, today announced the appointment of Michael E. Burton as President and CEO. Dr. Burton, formerly a Senior Vice President, succeeds Cynthia L. Zollinger, who has held Cornerstone Research's highest leadership position since January 2007. Ms. Zollinger remains an officer of the firm and will assume the post of Chair, succeeding James K. Malernee Jr. Read more.

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Cornerstone Research

Two Embarcadero Center
20th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone: (415) 229-8100
Fax: (415) 229-8199


  • Employer Type: Private
  • President & CEO: Michael E. Burton
  • Chairman: Cynthia L. Zollinger
  • 2014 Employees: 450

  • Employment Contact
    Visit Cornerstone's careers page

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Accounting Antitrust and Competition Bankruptcy and Financial Distress Litigation Consumer Fraud and Product Liability Corporate and Government Investigations Corporate Governance Corporate Transaction Litigation Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Energy and Commodities Financial Institutions Intellectual Property International Arbitration and Litigation Labor and Employment Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Real Estate Securities Valuation

Major Office Locations

  • Boston, MA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Menlo Park, CA
  • New York, NY
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Washington, DC
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