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A nationally recognized former federal prosecutor, Cynthia is well known by companies, Boards, and executives for counseling them with their most complex legal needs to address growth and risk mitigation.

Cynthia represents both public and privately held companies and advises Boards of Directors in a variety of situations for long-term prosperity. As a former federal prosecutor, Cynthia is well known for her ability to see the entire playing field to advise clients on legal issues related to opportunities for growth and the pitfalls on the horizon. Cynthia’s breadth of knowledge is extensive as she has spent years aiding clients in developing compliant, legally sustainable growth strategies and advising through times of transition and challenges faced, whether that be litigation or government investigations.

Cynthia has represented numerous companies in the food, agriculture, manufacturing, and technology industries. She also represents financial and educational institutions and clients in real estate and construction. She regularly interacts and litigates with multiple agencies on behalf of clients, including the U.S. Department of Justice, FBI, EPA, DOL, IRS, HHS, OSHA, SEC, 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 leads sensitive internal investigations for companies and Boards of Directors. This includes internal investigations which address parallel government investigations, regulatory violations and compliance audits. These investigations include embezzlement, financial institution fraud, labor violations, environmental violations, healthcare fraud, domestic and international tax controversies, and the False Claims Act/qui tam claims, among many others.

Cynthia is a trial attorney and appellate counsel who has extensive litigation experience on both sides of the courtroom. She has litigated hundreds of matters in federal district court, prosecuted cases and defended clients in high-profile trials, and won numerous appeals in federal circuit courts of appeal. While well versed in court, she is also known for her artful ability to obtain settlements and handle negotiations in the most complex cases.

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 clients’ rights, and her long standing relationship with the law enforcement community.

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.





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


  • 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
News Releases | October 01, 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.

Media Mentions | March 20, 2017
Law360: The Female Attorneys You Admire
Media Mentions | November 09, 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 08, 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.