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Cornerstone Research Overview

Menlo Park, CA
501 to 1000 employees
Company - Private
$100 to $500 million (USD) per year

Cornerstone Research – Why Work For Us?

Cornerstone Research is one of the nation's leading economic and financial consulting firms. We specialize in the analysis of complex financial, economic, accounting, and marketing issues that arise in litigation. Our work with prominent academic and industry experts provides clients with state-of-the-art analysis and has earned us a reputation for excellence and effectiveness. We attribute our success to a unique combination of factors:

  • Talented, analytically oriented, and highly motivated staff
  • A corporate culture that respects and celebrates the diversity of our employees
  • A dynamic work environment that fosters and supports our core values
  • Cutting-edge economic and financial research
  • Innovative approaches to solving challenging problems
  • A team-based approach to casework, emphasizing a combination of collaboration and individual initiative

Office Locations:

Boston, MA

Chicago, IL

Los Angeles, CA

Silicon Valley, CA

New York, NY

San Francisco, CA

Washington, DC

London, UK



Clients consult with Cornerstone Research on a range of projects involving numerous industries. Cornerstone Research works on high-profile cases reported on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Our clients include nearly all major securities firms, financial institutions such as hedge funds and private equity firms, top consulting and other professional services firms, leading pharmaceutical companies, major participants in energy markets, Internet and other high-technology firms, large telecommunications providers, and others. A sample of the issues on which we work includes:

  • Securities valuation involving stocks, debt instruments, and derivatives
  • Competition issues related to mergers, joint ventures and cartels, and the behavior of market-leading firms
  • Intellectual property and the commercial value of innovation and technology
  • High-profile financial institution failures, including the role of risk management and the credit crisis
  • Healthcare and pharmaceutical disputes involving topics such as reimbursement issues and the dynamics of generic drug competition
  • The impact of cost and financial accounting practices

Cornerstone Research values the professional growth of consultants and recognizes their contributions. We believe that strong skills develop best through practical experience. To support consultants in building their skill set, our orientation training program introduces them to sophisticated analytical and statistical techniques used in our casework. Following orientation and training, consultants join case teams while continuing to learn new skills. They immediately interact with senior consultants, experts, and clients for tremendous learning and development opportunities.

Cornerstone Research also invests in professional development through focused and ongoing training programs, including:

  • Annual, tenure-based training
  • Cornerstone College, which offers self-directed courses on functional and practice area skills
  • Informal Brown Bag Lunch sessions on topics such as computer skills, practice areas, cases, and experience sharing
  • Mentoring by experienced analysts and senior consultants

The analyst position at Cornerstone Research typically spans three to five years and provides a strong foundation for building careers in finance, industry, consulting, or academia. From the start analysts play a central role on client engagements and on important firmwide initiatives. Analysts work on case teams that vary in size but typically include an academic or industry expert, senior consultants, and other analysts. Within case teams analysts make important contributions during all phases of a project, from developing case strategy, to conducting analyses submitted to the court, to preparing experts for testimony.

The analytical depth of our assignments, the breadth of industry exposure, and the experience working on case teams offer outstanding preparation for analysts applying to top graduate programs in business, economics, and law. Additionally Cornerstone Research offers programs to help prepare and assist analysts in applying to graduate school. In the past seven years, nearly three-quarters of analysts who left the firm chose to pursue a graduate degree, primarily in the fields of business, law, and economics.  Over 50 percent of these analysts who chose to pursue a graduate degree in business, law, or economics attended a top-five school, and more than 75 percent attended a top-ten school in their respective fields (as ranked by U.S. News and World Report). Those who chose not to pursue a graduate degree now work in a variety of fields, including academic research, finance, marketing, and technology.


Cornerstone Research seeks well-rounded, enthusiastic individuals who have demonstrated excellent academic performance in challenging undergraduate programs. We encourage candidates with strong analytical backgrounds, computer skills, communication skills, and an interest in business and economics to apply.

Summer Analysts
As an introduction to the analyst position, Cornerstone Research hires a small number of summer analysts for ten to twelve weeks, generally during the year prior to graduation. The summer analyst role and qualifications closely mirror those of the analyst position. Many summer analysts choose to join Cornerstone Research after graduation.


Cornerstone Research provides a dynamic work environment that offers an array of opportunities for associates to develop professionally. Case teams include consultants at all levels of experience, including those who have just completed their graduate education, recent graduates from top undergraduate programs, and senior staff with many years of consulting experience. Projects involve close collaboration with clients and academic and industry experts to research cutting-edge issues in industry and academia, develop case strategy, and determine how best to communicate findings. Associates participate actively in shaping the firm’s recruiting, training, and practice development strategies, as well as organizing social and community outreach events. Over time associates take on increasing levels of responsibility for the leadership and management of case teams, client and expert relationships, and firm development efforts.


Associates at Cornerstone Research must have the ability to apply academic research to real-world issues and present concise explanations of complex analyses. The ideal candidate will possess a strong empirical background and excellent interpersonal skills. Cornerstone Research attracts individuals who are intellectually curious and want to work on a broad range of issues at the nexus of the academic and business worlds. 

Doctoral Candidates
We seek candidates who have pursued doctoral studies in finance, economics, accounting, or marketing, and who will be graduating in the upcoming year. We also seek candidates who have graduated and have academic or relevant industry experience. Several members of our consulting team have come to the firm with prior academic experience, from junior faculty to emeritus tenured faculty, and have transitioned successfully into our business.

M.B.A. Candidates
The ideal candidate will possess a strong academic background, an analytical orientation, excellent communication skills, and an interest in thinking creatively about complex economic and financial problems. Candidates also must have the ability and desire to take on increasing levels of managerial responsibility. Industry experience in finance, accounting, consulting, and other fields requiring sophisticated data analysis is also an asset.

Summer Associates
Summer associates join us for ten to twelve weeks during the year prior to graduation from their doctoral or M.B.A. programs. Cornerstone Research designed the summer associate program to mirror the experience of a first-year associate, including case assignments as well as formal training. As we do for all associates, we try our best to match summer associates with cases of interest to them. Many summer associates become associates at Cornerstone Research upon completing their graduate studies.


Cases involving corporate finance, asset pricing, market microstructure, and other finance issues arise in a variety of contexts. We apply sophisticated, state-of-the-art financial models developed in academia to complex business problems.

For example, cases involving business valuation often require developing sophisticated discounted cash flow models. Other cases may require an extensive analysis of market efficiency, complex derivative valuation, or bond default probabilities. Market manipulation cases may require an analysis and understanding of market microstructure. Accounting restatement cases may involve an analysis of how stock prices would have responded to alternative financial statements.

Our consultants apply and refine the latest academic models using the most detailed data available. We have access to many public and proprietary data sources.


Economic analysis and analytic tools are used in many of our assignments. For example, antitrust cases require theoretical and empirical analyses of the behavior of firms and the extent to which a firm’s strategies (e.g., contracting, pricing, tying, bundling, or mergers and acquisitions) enhance or harm consumer welfare. Antitrust analyses can include analyzing firm incentives within a particular market context and devising empirical and statistical models to test and predict firm behavior. Intellectual property cases often feature an analysis of the effect of innovation and property protection on competition and profitability.

The intellectual opportunities in our research are especially rich because most cases require analysis that embodies a clear theoretical framework and properly applies econometric models, as well as a broad institutional inquiry into the structure of the industry, the relevant production processes, and the nature of competition. As a result we work with data (e.g., customer and transaction data from the client) and qualitative information from internal marketing or strategy documents, written communications, and testimony by industry participants.


Cornerstone Research has developed a deep expertise in addressing complex accounting issues, such as analyzing capital market responses to financial information, evaluating financial reporting in the context of the relevant authoritative guidance, and providing rigorous analysis of company economics to assess executive compensation and managerial accounting issues.

Our staff includes CPAs as well as individuals with advanced degrees in accounting. Our extensive experience supporting multiple experts on a range of issues enables us to provide effective analyses in accounting-related litigation.


Cases at Cornerstone Research often involve complex issues in marketing. For example, in cases involving claims of false advertising for consumer products, we may estimate econometric models using scanner panel data. Marketing cases can also provide an opportunity to conduct original survey work, using conjoint analysis and other statistical methods to examine consumer preferences and choices. The nature of our work requires an excellent understanding of the consumer behavior literature and solid expertise in various quantitative and econometric methods used in marketing.

Cornerstone Research Reviews

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Cornerstone Research President and CEO Michael E. Burton
Michael E. Burton
37 Ratings
  • "Under-appreciated employer"

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Cornerstone Research full-time (More than 8 years)


    Investment in people - good development opportunities, interesting work, leaders who care about whether people enjoy their work and experience. I can tell the leaders are trying to make this a great place to have a career because of investment in hiring and spending. Can manage work-life balance if you decide to do it - have to make it happen for yourself and try to get on cases with managers who leave you alone. Lots of things are changing for the better. It's a great place and the good things are lost because of small problems it would be easy to fix. We make good money. I know officers make a lot of money, which is great, and they get to manage their work-life balance much better than anyone else.


    I really like working here and I can only work here for a long time if some things change. It is almost like some people have not noticed that it is 2018 now, not 2008. Everything is different now - time to catch up. There is more training and more development than we used to have and it is much better stuff. But we need more and recently it seems like senior people do not want to spend time and money to develop us or hire enough consultants and staff people to do it. I gave a 5 rating on compensation because the money is very good, but our benefits and perks are a 2. Officers care, but need to spend more time on cases to make a difference. Teach managers how to manage better. Let less senior people do as much as they can. Make it easier for people to manage their own time. Let people work on cases in other offices if they want to. Too much hierarchy, too bureaucratic. Face-time is a problem - I do not need to be in the office to do my work. Even though the pay is good, the perks are not as good as anywhere my friends work. Little things that are cheap become a big deal and it's a bummer when we are all working so hard.

    Advice to Management

    Make sure you know what is going on in the company - don't guess because you have talk to one or two squeaky wheel people - those people are not the ones who are going to stay here anyway. I want to stay and I get less attention because I do not complain. Let people figure out what they want to do and go do it without getting 10 layers of approval. Help people get good case roles - backlog process is great in my office now but my peers in some office do not have the good luck or anyone to talk to about it. Figure out who wants to be here and get rid of anyone, even senior people, who are bringing us down because they don't like it here and do not do anything to help, they just complain. They do not even know that they ARE the problem. A lot of us want to do good things, but it is too hard to get permission and we are not motivated because of the whiners.

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Cornerstone Research Interviews



Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview





    Associate Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Easy Interview


    I applied online. I interviewed at Cornerstone Research.


    -First round interview within a week or so.
    -After first round, they told me that they would get back to me relatively quickly. It took multiple months, and only after I emailed them wit an inquiry.
    -Second round was hit or miss. I did well in the cases, but one of the people interviewing me was hostile. She started off with the assumption that I did not want the job, and I had to defend myself for the rest of the interview. Everyone else was fine.
    -Clearly nobody read the paper that I presented during lunch. Their questions during the presentation were basic.
    -One of the people interviewing me “messed up the explanation of the case” (his words), not ideal when you are trying to do your best, confusing.
    -At the end, they told me that weeks ago they were pretty much done interviewing for associates (and ignored delay with my application). And certainly, I got no offer from them (ok with this, just don't waste my time).

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Cornerstone Research Awards & Accolades

  • Economic Consultancy Firm of the Year - USA, Acquisition International Magazine, 2014
  • Top 20 of World’s Competition Economics Practices, Global Competition Review, 2014

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