GATESVILLE — Despite her given name, Dallas Cornish, the new assistant county attorney for Coryell County, is a newcomer to the Lone Star State.
“The name didn’t have anything to do with Texas,” she said.
An Iowa native, Cornish, 33, found her way to Central Texas by a familiar route — her husband, Chris, was stationed at Fort Hood with the 1st Cavalry Division in 2001, but she is now specializing in Child Protective Services cases for County Attorney Brandon Belt’s office.
“I love the job,” Cornish said. “I love the people, first and foremost, and the work. Brandon is a great mentor.”
Familiar with family law from a stint with juvenile probation in Bell County, Dallas represented clients in Child Protective Services cases in Coryell County opposite County Attorney Brandon Belt.
“I got to know and like Brandon, and the whole legal community,” she said.
When Belt’s assistant, Dusty Boyd, left the office to run for district attorney, Cornish applied for the vacant position.
“Brandon knew my work,” she said. “I didn’t need an interview.”
Belt’s last two assistants have moved on to higher county positions — Boyd to district attorney and Trent Farrell to district judge — but he hopes to keep Cornish for a while. “She is a keeper. She handles all the CPS cases and helps with the criminal cases. She knows the law, and she is very level-headed.”
Belt said Cornish “plays well with others” in the courtroom.
“She gets along with everybody,” Belt said. “She has that fine quality in an attorney to be able to argue and not get angry.”
While her husband was still in the Army, Dallas settled into the Army community and hired on as a juvenile probation officer with Bell County.
The couple first lived in Copperas Cove. “Then I discovered Belton Lake,” she said.
Having grown up near Storm Lake, Iowa, Cornish was drawn to the open water, so the couple moved to Morgan’s Point.
She planned to go to law school in Omaha, Neb., where she had family ties. When Chris deployed to Iraq, Dallas put law school on hold.
While in Iraq, her husband decided he wanted to go to law school with her when he returned to the States.
High school sweethearts when they graduated from Storm Lake, the couple also graduated from the University of Northern Iowa together, so teaming up for law school made sense.
Chris Cornish left the Army in 2005, and the couple moved to Omaha, Neb. In 2008, they graduated with honors from Creighton University School of Law and were admitted to the Texas bar.
Before securing her Coryell County job, they returned to Central Texas to enter private practice and relocated at Morgan’s Point. Cornish has come to love her adopted state, but her given name came from the credits of her mother’s favorite television show, “M.A.S.H.”, not the Texas city.
She has to explain to a lot of folks that, no, her father has never been a Cowboys fan. “He is a Green Bay Packers fan,” she said.