Working day-to-day, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. For that reason, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on all we’ve achieved this past year: the battles we’ve won, the projects we’ve spearheaded, and the goals we’ve reached.

There have been a number of factors that made 2009 an important year for our firm. In July, we celebrated our 10-year anniversary. Since 1999, I’ve taken great pride in the work of our dedicated attorneys and staff who have committed themselves to serving the victims of mesothelioma. Through their efforts, we’ve reached thousands of patients and their families and helped fight for their rights as they’ve faced this preventable, life-ending illness.

As part of our 10-year anniversary celebration, we made the decision to change the name of our firm. As Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC, we will continue to build our legacy as one of the nation’s leading advocates for the victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. This new name reflects the strong leadership role taken by four of our partners, Perry Browder, Ted Gianaris, Michael Angelides, and John Barnerd. But since we know this new name is a mouthful, we’ll be more casually known as Simmons Hanly Conroy.

Earlier in 2009 we had a further expansion of our partnership with the addition of six new partners. Each of these individuals continue to bring extensive experience in asbestos litigation to our clients.

In 2009, we redoubled our ongoing efforts to raise awareness about mesothelioma and work to improve life within our community. As part of that effort, we sponsored the very first “Miles for Meso,” a 5K run/walk to raise money for mesothelioma research.  This inaugural event raised approximately $30,000 and drew nearly 500 participants.

I was also incredibly proud of the work done by Simmons employees outside of the workplace to help those in need. During the summer, the Simmons Employee Foundation (SEF) held a dinner auction which generated over $150,000 to support a variety of local charitable organizations. In November, the SEF held an annual food drive, collecting more than 50,000 pounds of food for Madison County pantries. Even in this climate of economic uncertainty, Simmons employees made generous donations that speak to their commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of others.

It’s this spirit of service and commitment that we’ll be taking into the new year. As we move into 2010, we’ll continue to fight for the rights of patients and their families. We’ll work to raise awareness about mesothelioma, generate funds for research, and call for legislation banning the use of asbestos. We are grateful for 2009, and look forward to the challenges of the coming year.

Have a safe and happy holiday. See you in the new year.