Our Attorneys

Call to speak to our attorneys at (559) 431-3142 or contact us by email.

Our Attorneys

aIMG_0010Stephen R. Cornwell is recognized as one of the most experienced plaintiff’s personal injury attorneys in the San Joaquin Valley, having tried over 150 cases in his 40 plus year career.  He was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, educated at San Jose State (BS 1964) and the University of California, Berkeley – Boalt Hall (JD 1967). He was admitted to the bar in 1967. He spent three years as a prosecutor in the Ventura County District Attorneys Office. In 1970, he joined the firm of McCormick, Barstow, Sheppard, Coyle & Best (later named McCormick, Barstow, Sheppard, Wayte & Carruth). At McCormick he specialized in a civil tort practice trying over one hundred jury trials. His experience involved trials in the areas of general negligence actions representing both plaintiffs and defendants, flood damage, employment representing both plaintiffs and defendants, fire, electricity, professional liability, crop damage, law firm dissolution, governmental entities, the defense of day-care centers, premises liability and products liability actions. He has defended several judges in matters before the California Commission on Judicial Performance. He has served, by appointment of the court, as Chair of the Defense Steering Committee for the 1994 Dust Storm suits, the largest motor vehicle accident in the history of the United States and Chair for the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee in several large multiple motor vehicle collisions. He has appeared in numerous United States District Courts, before the Fifth District Court of Appeal and before the California Supreme Court.

Professional affiliations include the American Board of Trial Advocates in which he was admitted in 1973.  He was elevated in ABOTA to the rank of Diplomate in 1995. He has served as President of the San Joaquin Valley Chapter of ABOTA and served as President of the California Chapters of ABOTA in 2002. He was invited to join and became a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers in 1997.  He has repeatedly been voted as a Super Lawyer in California and in 2014 was selected by his peers to be included in the Best Lawyers in America.

In November of 2000, he withdrew as a senior partner in civil litigation from the McCormick firm and formed his partnership with René Turner Sample as Cornwell & Sample, a firm specializing in civil trial practice for plaintiffs only. He is admitted to the bar of the United States Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. As a plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer, he has handled complex civil cases, representing families in litigation against large corporations and cases involving extremely serious injuries only the most experienced plaintiff’s attorneys can handle. He finds the answers when other lawyers would have given up. His experience and tenacity have resulted in him having some of the most newsworthy verdicts and largest settlements in the Valley.


aIMG_0008René Turner Sample is recognized as one of the most experienced and successful female trial lawyers in Central California. She was the first female member of the San Joaquin Valley Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates which selects its members based on jury trial experience, skill, civility and integrity. She remains the only female member of the chapter who specializes in plaintiff’s personal injury. She has been voted by Martindale Hubble as one of California’s Preeminent Women Lawyers. Born and raised in Fresno, California, René graduated magna cum laude from California State University, Fresno in 1983 and with distinction from San Joaquin College of Law in 1988. René has been married to Scott Sample for almost 30 years, has two adult children, and is an active member of The Well Community Church.

René is the past president for the Central California Trial Lawyers’ Association and an active Board member of the Consumer Attorneys of California. She is a frequent lecturer on civil litigation. René has actually taught many of the valley’s litigators, having been an adjunct faculty member at San Joaquin College of Law teaching Civil Trial Advocacy for 15 years. She has tried over 50 jury trials to verdict throughout the San Joaquin Valley and is one of the valley’s few plaintiffs’ lawyers, and the only female plaintiffs’ lawyer, to have two personal injury jury verdicts in excess of one million dollars.

René has tried a variety of cases, but considers her specialty to be personal injury and insurance-based cases. Some of her recent trial results include: premises liability (grocery store slip and fall) resulting in shoulder replacement surgery (jury verdict $1.2 million), motor vehicle accident resulting in mild traumatic brain injury ($2 million jury verdict), metal object in restaurant meal resulting in dental injuries ($300,000 jury verdict), insurance bad faith for failure to pay severely injured plaintiff the $15,000 policy limits in a timely manner ($900,000 jury verdict), and premises liability against a governmental entity (unmarked and unlit stair) resulting in a fractured arm which didn’t heal properly due to medical malpractice ($300,000 arbitration award for premises liability plus a $300,000 arbitration award for the medical malpractice.) Prior to dedicating her practice exclusively to representing persons and/or families who have been injured, she spent 12 years representing the insurance companies where she tried over 20 cases. René has brought her knowledge of the inner workings of insurance companies to her plaintiffs’ practice and is now exclusively dedicated to helping those who have been injured. She has also brought her life experience of helping others in her church and community to her practice, demonstrating that the best advocates are those who genuinely care about their clients.



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Cornwell and Sample, LLC
7045 N. Fruit Ave., Fresno, CA 93711
call us 559.431.3142