J. Cotten Cunningham

Attorney, Member

Professional Experience

Before joining the Barber Law Firm, Cotten Cunningham was the managing partner of a mid-size law firm specializing in insurance defense litigation. Before joining that firm, he represented the Arkansas Health Care Association and the nursing home industry during the 83rd Arkansas General Assembly. During that Session he actively lobbied for the “Quality Assurance Fee,” which enabled the state of Arkansas to increase its Medicaid reimbursement rate to a level comparable to that of other surrounding states, and tort reform legislation to protect the nursing home industry from runaway jury verdicts and the ever‑increasing costs of insurance premiums for liability coverage.

Prior to his tenure as a lobbyist for the nursing home industry, Cotten served as an Assistant Attorney General within the Environmental/Utilities Division of the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office for approximately two years. He earned a Master of Laws degree in environmental law from The George Washington University School of Law in Washington, D.C., and served an internship with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Annapolis, Maryland, before joining the Attorney General’s Office. During his period in Washington, he also worked on the staff of Congressman Robert "Marion" Berry of Arkansas.

Cotten received his Juris Doctorate in 1997 from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law. He completed his undergraduate studies in 1993 at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and majored in finance and insurance.

Cotten is a member of the firm’s Trucking and Motor Carrier Practice Group and 24-Hour Emergency Response Team, Litigation Practice Group, Insurance Practice Group, Environmental Law Practice Group, and Products Liability Practice Group. He is a member of the Pulaski County, Arkansas, and American Bar Associations, a Fellow of the Arkansas Bar Foundation, a member of DRI and the Arkansas Association of Defense Counsel, and a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Volunteer Organization Central Arkansas Legal Services (VOCALS), is a member of the Henry Woods Inn of Court as a master of the bench and mentor, and recently served on the Arkansas Continuing Legal Education Board. Cotten is recognized in The Best Lawyers in America for Personal Injury Litigation, is a Mid-South Super Lawyer for Personal Injury Defense, and is rated an AV Preeminent attorney by the Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™, the gold standard in attorney ratings.

Practice Areas

  • Personal Injury Defense Litigation
  • Commercial Transportation
  • Environmental Law/Toxic Tort Litigation
  • Professional Liability
  • Products Liability
  • Insurance Coverage

Court Admissions

  • Arkansas state courts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association member
  • Arkansas Bar Association member
  • Pulaski County Bar Association
  • DRI
  • Arkansas Association of Defense Counsel
  • Fellow of the Arkansas Bar Foundation
  • Henry Woods Inn of Court
  • American Board of Trial Advocates

Community Involvement

  • VOCALS Board of Directors (Chair 2019 – 2021)
  • Stewpot volunteer
  • Family Promise of Pulaski County volunteer
  • Member and Elder of Second Presbyterian Church, Little Rock


  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America for Personal Injury Litigation
  • Mid-South Super Lawyer – Personal Injury Defense, Environmental, and Insurance Coverage
  • Rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Former member of the Arkansas Continuing Legal Education Board
  • Former Assistant Attorney General of the State of Arkansas
  • Speaker/Presenter at the Arkansas Bar Association Annual Meetings


  • The George Washington University School of Law, Washington, DC Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Environmental Law, January 1999.
    Thesis: Pfiesteria piscicida: What Is It, What Causes It, and What’s Being Done About It
  • University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law Juris Doctor (J.D.), May 1997.
  • University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (B.S.B.A.), December 1993