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Overview

As a nationally recognized former federal prosecutor, Cynthia brings firsthand knowledge of government investigations to her clients.

Cynthia leads internal investigations and represents clients in complex government investigations. She regularly interacts and litigates with multiple agencies on behalf of clients, including the U.S. Department of Justice, FBI, U.S. Homeland Security, EPA, DOL, IRS and U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country.

Cynthia served as an assistant U.S. attorney for nearly a decade prior to private practice. During this time, she spearheaded a multiagency task force of more than 20 federal and state law enforcement agencies; and over 60 non-profit organizations. She directed investigations that took down criminal enterprises operating in the United States and overseas and was responsible for some of the largest and most complex investigations in Department of Justice history. The U.S. Department of Justice honored her as the Crime Victims’ Rights Act Champion in 2013 and the National Association of Former United States Attorney’s honored her with the Exceptional Service Award in 2011.

Cynthia represents public and private companies, educational institutions, healthcare entities, senior corporate executives and employees involved in government investigations, regulatory violations and compliance issues. This includes embezzlement, financial institution fraud, environmental violations, healthcare fraud, domestic and international tax controversies, and the False Claims Act/qui tam litigation. Cynthia regularly represents companies who are victims of embezzlement or breach of fiduciary duties. She conducts internal investigations and facilitates the related law enforcement investigation and prosecutions.

Cynthia also launched and directs the firm’s Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Clinic, the first and only clinic of its kind in the country. Cynthia supervises lawyers firm-wide in this unprecedented dedication of pro bono resources for victims of human trafficking. She serves as president of the firm’s only 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the Human Trafficking Rescue Assistance Fund. As a federal prosecutor, she prosecuted more human trafficking cases than any other Assistant U.S. Attorney in the country. Today, Cynthia also leads nuanced supply chain investigations and audits for corporate clients and handles anti-human trafficking compliance efforts on behalf of public and private companies.

Cynthia has received numerous awards and recognitions throughout her career, including being named Missouri’s Lawyer of the Year in 2014 by Missouri Lawyer’s Weekly, she was selected as one of Kansas City Business Magazine’s Most Influential Women, and she received the Judge Arnold Krekel Trailblazer Award by the Missouri Human Rights Commission in 2016. Cynthia is well known for her innovative work in the law, advocacy on behalf of crime victims and her clients rights, and her long standing relationship with the law enforcement community.


Industries

Services

Recognition

  • Missouri Department of Labor, Missouri Human Rights Commission, Judge Arnold Krekel Trailblazer Award, 2016
  • Ingram's magazine, 40 Under Forty, 2016
  • Benchmark Litigation, Local Litigation Star, 2015-2020
  • Benchmark Litigation, Top 250 Women in Litigation, 2015-2017
  • Missouri Lawyers Weekly, Lawyer of the Announced, 2013
  • Missouri Lawyers Weekly, Lawyer of the Year, 2014
  • The Missouri Bar, Pro Bono Publico Award, 2014
  • Kansas City Business Magazine, Influential Woman, 2014
  • Boston University, College of Communication, Distinguished Alumni, 2014
  • Shared Hope International, Pathbreaker Award, 2013
  • U.S. Department of Justice, Crime Victims’ Rights Act Champion, 2013
  • National Association of Former United States Attorneys, Exceptional Service Award, 2011
  • U.S. Attorney General’s ACTeam, 2011
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Outstanding Prosecution – Fraud Investigations, 2009

Education

  • J.D., Notre Dame Law School
  • B.S., Boston University
    • Journalism

Admissions

  • Missouri
  • Illinois
  • Kansas

Professional Memberships and Certifications

  • National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys
  • Human Trafficking Rescue Assistance (HTRA), President
  • Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City
  • Lee Ann Britain Infant Development Center, Shawnee Mission Health
  • Association for Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City
  • Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
Experience
  • Represented CEOs, presidents and executive leadership in civil and criminal investigations by the federal and state governments.
  • Diffused whistleblower actions prior to a government investigation.
  • Resolved grand jury criminal investigations against company CEOs and presidents prior to indictment and without convictions.
  • Investigated and prosecuted organized crime rings from numerous countries, including China, Russia, Uzbekistan and the Philippines.
  • Convicted official representative from Taiwan of fraud and labor contracting violations.
News Releases | October 1, 2019
Benchmark Litigation's 2020 Edition Recognizes 33 Husch Blackwell Attorneys

The firm also received Benchmark’s “Highly Recommended” ranking in Missouri and Wisconsin and its “Recommended” ranking in Nebraska.

News Releases | October 11, 2018
Benchmark Litigation Recognizes 28 Husch Blackwell Attorneys

Husch Blackwell is recognized as a top litigation firm in the 2019 edition of Benchmark Litigation, with 28 attorneys across six offices listed.

Media Mentions | March 20, 2017
Law360: The Female Attorneys You Admire
Media Mentions | November 9, 2016
Missouri Lawyers Weekly: Cordes recognized for human rights work (log-in required)

Cynthia L. Cordes receives the Judge Arnold Krekel Trailblazer Award from the Missouri Commission on Human Rights.

Media Mentions | April 29, 2016
Ingrams "40 Under Forty" 2016: Cynthia Cordes

Cynthia Cordes was named to Ingram's 2016 "40 Under Forty" list.

News Releases | June 27, 2014
Husch Blackwell's Cynthia Cordes and Christine Miller among Five Missouri Attorneys Selected to Benchmark Litigation's Top 250 Women in Litigation

Cynthia Cordes and Christine Miller have been named to the 2014 Benchmark Litigation Top 250 Women in Litigation.

Media Mentions | January 20, 2014
Missouri Lawyer's Weekly: Prosecutor's focus on victims helped put away traffickers

Missouri Lawyers Weekly profiles partner Cynthia Cordes, highlighting her focus on the victims of human trafficking. Click the "Full Article" link at right to read the story.

Media Mentions | December 26, 2013
The Kansas City Star: Husch Blackwell Provides Pro Bono Services to Human Trafficking Victims

A Dec. 26, 2013, article in The Kansas City Star featured Husch Blackwell Partner Cynthia Cordes and Pro Bono Services Director Jennifer Schwendemann discussing the firm’s commitment to represent all human trafficking victims referred by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Western Missouri.

News Releases | December 18, 2013
Cynthia Cordes Named Missouri Lawyers Weekly 2014 "Lawyer of the Year"

Missouri Lawyers Weekly has named Husch Blackwell Partner Cynthia L. Cordes as its 2014 “Lawyer of the Year.”

Media Mentions | December 16, 2013
Missouri Lawyers Weekly 2014 "Lawyer of the Year:" Relentless

Cynthia Cordes, the Missouri Lawyers Weekly 2014 "Lawyer of the Year," is making unprecedented strides against human trafficking. Click the "Full Article" link at right to read the story.

News Releases | December 13, 2013
Husch Blackwell Launches Human Trafficking Legal Clinic, the First of its Kind in the Country

To maximize efforts in the fight against human trafficking, Husch Blackwell has launched a human trafficking legal clinic that is the first of its kind in the country.

News Releases | November 8, 2013
Cynthia Cordes Receives 2013 Pathbreaker Award

Husch Blackwell Partner Honored as a National Leader in the Fight Against Sex Trafficking

Human Trafficking

Cynthia leads the firm's Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Clinic and Human Trafficking Compliance team. As an assistant U.S. attorney, she became the first federal prosecutor in the United States to charge an international human trafficking enterprise under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). She was the first to investigate and prosecute the newly enacted fraud in foreign labor contracting statute. Cynthia also broke new ground by utilizing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to prosecute the demand for trafficking. She has prosecuted more human-trafficking cases than any other assistant U.S. attorney in the country.