Athina L. Cornell


Athina Cornell joined Methfessel & Werbel in 2024.  Prior to joining M&W, Athina was one of the founding Partners in a boutique New Jersey education law firm.

Athina has been successfully representing boards of education since 1996. She has significant experience in special education, personnel and student matters and has served as general counsel and special counsel to boards of education throughout the State. In the area of special education, Athina counsels school districts and handles all aspects of litigation including state and federal court matters as well as administrative agencies.  Through the relationships she has developed over the years as well as her long-standing reputation in this area, Athina’s collaborative approach results in creative and cost-effective solutions for boards of education.

Athina regularly attends board meetings; reviews policies and protocols; and provides legal opinions on special education matters, personnel, and student matters.

Athina routinely provides workshops, seminars, and in-service for board members as well as educational professionals.  Her most recent programs addressed current trends in special education, including how to develop effective I.E.P.s, proactive efforts to avoid litigation as well as best practice in program development.  Athina also lectures in other areas such as affirmative action; harassment, intimidation and bullying, OPRA; and student confidentiality.  Athina is regularly requested to speak on behalf of the New Jersey Bar Association, New Jersey School Boards Association, Seton Hall Superintendent Study Council, LRP Publications and Special Ed Connection, NBI, Lehigh University, N.J. CASE, and associations of various child study team disciplines.

Since 2019 Athina has been recognized by the Super Lawyers as a leader in her respective area of practice.

Athina began her legal career as an attorney at a mid-sized general practice firm where she was a Shareholder and member of the Education Law Group.