John SimmonsÂ founded the firm in 1999 with seven employees and a focus on asbestos litigation. Under his leadership, the firm has expanded to more than 250 employees, including more than 80 attorneys, spread between six offices in Alton, St. Louis, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
John has overseen some of theÂ biggest verdicts and settlementsÂ in the history of asbestos litigation. The firmâ€™s first trial involved a roofer and former Shell Oil employee diagnosed with mesothelioma. John helped secure a $34.1 million jury verdict, then considered one of the largest jury verdicts in the history of the litigation. That record stood for only a short while before the firm obtained a $250 million verdict on behalf of an Indiana steelworker.
The firmâ€™s track record of success continues today, not only in mesothelioma litigation, but also in other areas of complex litigation including dangerous drugs and devices, prescription opioid litigation, sexual abuse litigation, environmental litigation, personal injury and other mass torts and class actions. Since that first case, the firm has recovered more than $9 billion in settlements and verdicts for thousands of clients nationwide under Johnâ€™s leadership.
Why Simmons Hanly Conroy
â€œThe best part of my job is meeting with prospective clients,â€ John said.
Simmons Hanly Conroy is one of the leading national law firms in complex litigation for several reasons, according to John. These reasons include its trial team structure, its extensive document libraries, its expertise in dealing with Medicare liens and other archives that expedite the discovery process, just to name a few.
â€œNot many firms have the legal resources dedicated to the mesothelioma and asbestos litigation process we do. We have amassed an extensive library since 1999,â€ he said.
The firmâ€™s infrastructure has been leveraged to help clients in its Complex Litigation Department, where the firm has recovered more than $800 million in verdicts and settlements.
In addition to getting results for clients, it is the firmâ€™s deep commitment to personal attention that John values most.
â€œYouâ€™re not just a number. Weâ€™ll know your name. Someone will take your call and someone will call you back,â€ he said. â€œWe even place calls to our clients long after their case is resolved to make sure theyâ€™re doing OK.â€
Background and Experience
Following high school, John married his high school sweetheart and joined the Army. After serving as a combat engineer for two years, he returned home to East Alton to work with his father building houses. Johnâ€™s father inspired him to become a lawyer; and within months, he enrolled at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville as a political science major. He graduated a short time later with honors and went on to earn his J.D. from Southern Methodist University School of Law in Dallas while working part time representing nonprofit organizations and churches.
In 2006, following the early success of the firm, John was recognized by theÂ St. Louis Business JournalÂ as one of St. Louisâ€™s 40 Under 40. The award honors 40 early achievers based on accomplishments in their careers and work in the St. Louis community. He has also been selected as one of 40 Illinois Attorneys Under the Age of 40 to Watch by theÂ Chicago Lawyer MagazineÂ and is rated as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers.
John recently received an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell. An AV rating, which identifies a lawyer with very high to preeminent legal ability, is a prestigious peer-reviewed analysis of Johnâ€™s expertise, experience, integrity and overall professional excellence.
The final piece of Johnâ€™s vision of the firm as a national first-class plaintiffâ€™s firm was realized in 2011 with the grand opening of its national headquarters in Alton, Illinois. The six-story building consolidated the firmâ€™s employees from eight buildings around the Madison County area into one central location, for the first time since the firm started.
Committed to a Cure
John formed the firm because after years of working for management, he believed he could provide a higher level of legal care to clients by combining legal expertise with service-minded values.
That vision expanded when John and the firm made a joint $10.2 million donation to build theÂ Simmons Cancer InstituteÂ on the campus of Southern Illinois University in Springfield. The cancer institute is a community-based patient care, research, education and outreach program created to improve cancer care for the citizens of Central and Southern Illinois.
â€œItâ€™s just the right thing to do,â€ John said about his charitable work. â€œI believe you should always do the right thing, even when you think no one is looking.â€
â€œWeâ€™re starting to see hints of progress in the research being done for mesothelioma treatments. I know itâ€™s not good for business, but Iâ€™m looking forward to the day when the firm no longer handles mesothelioma cases because it has been cured,â€ John said.
* Please note that recovery results vary per client. The recovery amounts in each case reflect the specific facts of that case. Further, recovery amounts in past cases are not a guarantee of future results.
Mesothelioma & Asbestos
Bar and Court Admissions:
Top 100 Trial Lawyers
Illinois Super Lawyer, 2012-2020
Chosen One of 40 Illinois Attorneys Under the Age of 40 to Watch
St. Louis Business Journal 40 Under 40, 2006
Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award, 2019
Key to the City of Venice, Illinois, 2019
Best Lawyers: â€œBest Lawyers in America,â€ 2018-2021, in the area of Plaintiffsâ€™ Personal Injury Litigation
American Association for Justice
American Bar Association
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
Board of Trustees, Southern Illinois University
Executive Board, United Way Partnership
Previously, U.S. Army, Combat Engineer
Southern Methodist University School of Law, Dallas, TX
Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, Edwardsville, IL
Honors: Student Body President; Position in the Deanâ€™s College