William (Bill) Cornelius was born in Marshall, Texas on January 27, 1951. He attended public schools in Jefferson, Texas, where he grew up, and where his Father and Grandfather were both practicing attorneys. He graduated 3rd in his high school class in 1969. From there, he attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas, on a football scholarship. He attended the Business School at Baylor, and then entered Baylor Law School, graduating with a J.D. in 1975, in the top third of his class.
Bill began his practice in Galveston, Texas, with the firm of McLeod, Alexander, Powel & Apffel, where he did insurance defense work until 1979. He then returned to East Texas to become an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Tyler, where, for six years, he defended Federal Tort Claims Act cases against the Government. During his tenure there, he was named Chief of the Civil Division, and later, Senior Litigation Counsel. His honors there included receiving the Certificate of Merit from the Attorney General.
In 1985, Bill joined the Wilson Firm (now Wilson, Robertson & Cornelius) in Tyler as a partner; and now conducts his full-time mediation practice there. His previous trial practice included the handling of commercial, tort and intellectual property cases, in state and federal courts. He has 15 years’ experience mediating all kinds of civil disputes, including patent infringement and other intellectual property cases.
He was admitted to the bar in Texas in 1975; and is admitted to practice in the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Southern and Northern Districts of Texas; and the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.
Bill is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, The T. John Ward American Inn of Court, and is a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. He has the Martindale Hubbell AV rating; and from 2018-2022 was named a “super lawyer” by Texas Monthly magazine in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution. In 2017, he was inducted into the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, an invitation only organization recognizing trusted mediators and arbitrators in the legal community.
Bill is married to Kimberly Parks Cornelius; has five grown children, and two grandsons.