Cordells endow visiting professorship in School of Law

Washington University School of Law alumni Joseph E. and Yvonne L. Cordell have made a $1 million gift commitment to establish and endow the Cordell & Cordell Visiting Professorship in the law school.

The gift will support an established legal scholar and teacher who demonstrates a commitment to adding a diverse voice to legal education, including one that represents a conservative and/or libertarian viewpoint. The Cordells hope the visiting professorship also will attract a strong scholar and teacher who is committed to public service, pro bono work, and/or activities that support family values and the community.

“This very generous gift speaks directly to the university’s commitment to breadth in our academic offerings,” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said. “I am very grateful to Joseph and Yvonne Cordell for supporting a plurality of legal opinion in the law school, which will serve our students well as they move into their chosen careers.”

“This is a remarkable gift from a dedicated couple that supports the law school’s commitment to providing a world-class legal education for our students,” said Daniel L. Keating, JD, Tyrrell Williams Professor of Law and interim dean of the law school.

The Cordells serve as volunteers for Leading Together: The Campaign for Washington University, and Yvonne Cordell also has provided volunteer support for the law school’s Scholarship Initiative. They have funded the Cordell & Cordell Annual Scholarship in the law school for the past five years.

Couple forms law firm focused on family law

Yvonne L. Cordell (JD ’88) and Joseph E. Cordell, JD (LLM ’08) are co-founders of Cordell & Cordell, the largest family law firm in the country specializing in the representation of men in family court law. Based in St. Louis, the firm has grown from one office in 1990 to more than 150 attorneys in more than 70 offices today.

The idea for the firm developed when Joseph Cordell realized that about 98 percent of the firm’s clients were men and recognized a need for “a level playing field in divorce courts.” He not only co-founded the firm but also is chief executive officer and executive partner. He is a recognized expert in the specialized area of protecting and promoting fathers’ rights throughout the divorce court process.

He has authored two books, “Your Civil War: A Father’s Guide to Winning Child Custody” and “The 10 Stupidest Mistakes Men Make When Facing Divorce.” He also has created and regularly contributes to the popular websites and

True to her philosophy of giving back to the community, Yvonne Cordell directs Teen Challenge of St. Louis, the local arm of a national organization that provides care for young men with addictions and other life-controlling problems.

Yvonne Cordell received her undergraduate education at Illinois State University, followed by her law degree from Washington University in St. Louis. Joseph Cordell graduated from Oklahoma State University, then went on to receive his JD from the University of Texas at Austin before earning his LLM in taxation from WUSTL.