In The News

Munsch Hardt Taps New Houston Managing Shareholder

Jan 18, 2022
Texas Lawyer

Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr has tapped John Cornwell, a bankruptcy, restructuring and insolvency attorney as the Houston office’s new managing shareholder, in another Texas management change placing mid-career lawyers into top leadership.

Cornwell, who joined Munsch Hardt in 2016 after more than 10 years at Norton Rose Fulbright, said he is ready to have an impact on day-to-day operations of the office beyond his role as a Houston bankruptcy attorney.

“I am in love with this law firm,” Cornwell said. “That sounds cliche for somebody in this role, but it’s true.”

He succeeds Mary Koks, an environmental lawyer who took on the managing shareholder job two years ago.

Phil Appenzeller, chief executive officer of Munsch Hardt, said Koks was ready to step aside from the management position after the difficult task of guiding the office through the pandemic.

“She did a great job,” Appenzeller said, noting that the firm added more than 20 lawyers in Houston over the last two years, nearly doubling in size.

When considering successors to Koks, Appenzeller said Cornwell quickly rose to the top of the list.
Cornwell, also a member of the firm’s operations committee, said he wants to continue the growth Koks accomplished. As for challenges he faces as the office leader, he said they include technology, the uncertainties of COVID-19 and finding the best way to be “in front” of clients during the pandemic. He also wants to concentrate on meshing the recently hired lawyers and staff with people who have worked for the firm for a while.

Echoing Cornwell, Appenzeller said growth in Houston is at the top of the firm’s strategic plan, and the firm would like the office to grow to the size of its Dallas office. The firm, which also has an office in Austin, has about 160 lawyers.

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