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Archive for the ‘Pro Bono’ Category


National Celebrate Pro Bono Week Raises Awareness of Madison County Legal Charities

It is National Celebrate Pro Bono Week, and, in Madison County, we have much to celebrate about how our legal system is working to make a positive impact locally.

In 2012, over 30,000 Illinois lawyers and paralegals donated more than 2 million hours of pro bono legal aid services for low-income individuals and families, including attorneys in Alton, Edwardsville, Granite City and communities throughout Madison County.

Land of Lincoln Legal Services, a central and southern Illinois non-profit group with a regional office in Alton, coordinates the majority of pro bono efforts in Madison County. They provide free legal assistance to thousands of low-income residents and seniors in areas related to housing, domestic violence, consumer protection, foreclosure help and more.

The Veterans’ Assistance Commission of Madison County provides support to approximately 25,000 Madison County veterans including those served by the Veterans’ Treatment Court. Through this program, lawyers help veterans resolve legal issues stemming from PTSD, psychological problems, substance abuse problems and other challenges linked to their military service.

At the Legal Advice Conference Center in the Madison County Law Library, attorneys offer free clinics to low-income residents the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. During the first half of 2013, the clinic helped 80 people and their families.

This week is National Celebrate Pro Bono Week. Last year, the Firm was awarded the Joseph R. Bartylak Pro Bono Awards for its service to the community in 2012.

This week is National Celebrate Pro Bono Week. Last year, the Firm was awarded the Joseph R. Bartylak Pro Bono Awards for its pro bono work. The Firm attorneys regularly volunteer for the Law Library’s legal clinics, participate in MCBA’s internship program and more.

The Madison County Bar Association Internship Program offers opportunities to students interested in the legal profession. Since the program started in 2012, it has placed approximately 15 students from area school districts, including Alton, Edwardsville, East Alton/Wood River and Bethalto in internships with several area law firms.

Good things are happening at the local level, but there’s always more that can be done. Often the only thing standing between homelessness, violence and abuse for the disadvantaged amongst us are the volunteers from the legal community. Please join me and the legal community in its efforts to bring legal services to all citizens by supporting pro bono services, which help those in need, right here in Madison County, Ill.

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Simmons Employee Golf Tourney to Feed Area Elementary Students

Elementary school children in the free and reduced lunch program in the Alton School District will receive additional support during weekends this coming school year.

The beneficiary of the 9th Annual Simmons Employee Foundation Golf Tournament is Blessings in a Backpack. The national program discretely provides weekend meals to children who might otherwise go hungry by distributing food in their backpacks on Friday afternoons.

Approximately 150 students who qualify for Blessings in a Backpack have been identified in the Alton School District. To fully fund the program for its 3-year duration, a total of $40,000 must be raised. All net proceeds from this year’s SEF golf tournament will benefit the program.

The tournament takes place June 14 at Sunset Hills Country Club in Edwardsville. Registration costs $100 per player or $400 per team. Tee off times are at 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Prizes for first and second place will be awarded.

Nationwide more than 62,000 children are being fed at 437 schools in 42 states through Blessings in a Backpack programs. Better test scores, improved reading skills, positive behavior, improved health and increased attendance have been attributed to the program.

Please help Simmons employees reach their goal to feed Alton elementary kids by signing up for this year’s golf tournament or becoming a sponsor.

Teams registered and paid by May 31 will be entered into a drawing for four St. Louis Cardinals baseball tickets.

Sponsorships for 2013 include the following opportunities. (Registration is not required to become a child or hole sponsor.)

Sponsor a child | $80

This one-time donation of $80 will feed one child on the weekends for an entire 38-week school year. To sponsor a child, please select the “Sponsor a Child” option on the registration brochure.

Hole sponsor | $100

This one-time donation of $100 will provide you or your company with a sign on the green next to a hole on the green. Space is limited, so hurry to reserve your spot!

Birdie Sponsor | $1,000

The Birdie Sponsor costs $1,000 and includes entry fees for one team, one hole sponsor, golf shirts for all team members, skins and mulligans, and reserved dinner seating.

Eagle Sponsor | $2,500

The Eagle Sponsor costs $2,500 and ensures your team plays in style. It includes the Birdie sponsorship benefits PLUS a personal beverage cart with your own driver and your choice of beverages and snacks and signage at the tournament.

Please return the registration and sponsorship form with a check payable to SEF to:

Amy Stiebel
Simmons Employee Foundation
One Court St.
Alton, Illinois 62002

For additional questions about the tournament contact Amy at 618-259-2222 or astiebel@simmonsfirm.com.

Learn more about Blessings in a Backpack at http://www.blessingsinabackpack.org.

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How to Give Back to Veterans in Metro St. Louis this Veterans’ Day

The servicemen and women who have served in our military have always sacrificed much to make our country a better place to live. It wasn’t until earlier this past century, however, that a day was set aside to recognize their sacrifices.

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month an armistice was reached in 1918. That day the fighting stopped along the Western Front of what would eventually become known as World War I.

November 11 was immediately designated a national holiday to celebrate peace and remember the sacrifice given by millions of soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedoms. In 1954, President Eisenhower signed legislation that changed ‘Armistice Day’ to ‘Veteran’s Day’ to honor American veterans of all wars – not just World War I.

Over the past years, the Firm has done much to help veterans whether representing them in the courtroom or donating its time, talent and treasure to veteran aid organizations. However, more people are
needed to step up and help support our veterans year round. Keep reading to learn more about veterans’ organizations the firm has helped in the past that could use your support, too.

Please consider donating your time, your talent or your treasure to these very deserving charities and programs that support our veterans year-round.

Veterans Legal Clinic
Organized by the Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee

On Tuesday, Nov. 13, Madison County attorneys will be available to answer veteran’s legal questions at the Madison County Courthouse Law Library in Edwardsville. Pro bono services will be available on the topics of evictions, foreclosures, estate planning, child custody, divorce and small claims.

Veterans of Madison County please call today to schedule your appointment.  Advance appointments must be made by calling Jaime Stipcak at the Madison County Law Library at (618) 296-4472.

Veterans’ Thanksgiving Dinner
at the St. Louis Veterans’ Home
Lewis and Clark Boulevard
St. Louis, MO

The Missouri Veterans’ Home is in need of several volunteers to help serve our veterans Thanksgiving Dinner. The event takes place on Thursday, Nov. 15 this year at 6 p.m. Volunteers are needed to help transport the veterans and act as servers. For the past two years, several firm employees have left work early to participate in this event. They all describe it as a very rewarding experience.

If you are available to help, contact Director of Volunteer Services Julie Goulet at 314-340-6389 ext 239 or via e-mail at administrator@slvhc.org.

Veterans Assistance Commission
Madison County Government

The Veterans’ Assistance Commission in Madison County helps approximately 25,000 veterans who are county residents and who were honorably discharged. Services include internal or emergency financial assistance, Veterans’ Treatment Court, and much more.  The organization is currently working on building a Veteran Volunteer Network to help serve veterans in Madison County.

Volunteer opportunities include being a mentor for the Veterans Treatment Court Mentoring Program, helping with the homeless veterans’ housing program, veterans visiting veterans in hospice/nursing care, veterans’ gravestone/grave marketer inventory/care, general office work and more.

To volunteer or learn more contact the Veterans’ Assistance Commission at mcvac@co.madison.il.us or 618-692-7040 ext. 4554.

Joshua Chamberlain Society
St. Louis Non-Profit Group Aiding Fallen & Wounded Military Heroes

Last year, the Joshua Chamberlain Society was the beneficiary of the Simmons Employee Foundation Annual Golf Tournament. This is a great organization that works to “adopt” St. Louis veterans who have been
wounded or killed during their military service. All funds donated to the organization directly help JCS Heroes and their families. Projects include remodeling the home to improve the wounded hero’s quality of life, setting up and funding college funds for children of veterans who have passed, or purchasing specialized furniture for the veteran.

The Society is hosting the 3rd Annual Price of Freedom Gala on Jan. 26, 2013 at the Renaissance Grand Hotel to raise funds to support its JCS Heroes. For ticket information visit www.priceoffreedomgala.org or click here to make a direction donation to help wounded St. Louis area veterans.

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Have You Thanked A Veteran Today?

Simmons Hanly Conroy advocates for veterans who died from asbestos related diseases

On this Veterans Day, please remember to light a candle in memory of those who gave their lives to protect ours; to say a prayer for those who are still overseas protecting us; and to thank those who served and came home to a nation they made great.

As a firm that specializes in asbestos-related diseases, many of our clients are veterans. Today, we’d like to advocate on behalf of those who passed away from lung cancer and mesothelioma due to their asbestos exposure during their time of service.

Throughout the twentieth century, the US military made widespread use of asbestos, a dangerous mineral linked to a number of diseases like lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. Asbestos was popular because of its heat-resistant properties, making it especially useful for fireproofing living quarters and
seagoing vessels.

According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, there are approximately 23 million veterans living in the country today. Thanks to the military’s decades of uncontrolled asbestos use, many of these veterans were unknowingly exposed to asbestos throughout their years of service. Navy veterans who worked on and around ships built before the mid 1970s are especially at risk, since they may have been exposed to concentrated doses of asbestos below deck. Since the first symptoms of mesothelioma normally do not appear until decades after exposure, many of these veterans have only recently been diagnosed with this fatal

navy-asbestosDespite this, close to 1,700 metric tons of asbestos was imported to the United States in 2008. It’s not banned, and – although it’s highly regulated – asbestos is still found in household products like insulation, shingles and siding.

America’s veterans who have been diagnosed with an asbestos related disease don’t back down from a fight. They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves or being resentful about something they know they can’t change. They remain proud of their service to their country and the time they spent in the Navy, Army, Air Force, or Marines. Like any hardworking American, though, they deserve a chance to be heard.

The same goes for any veteran who has fallen upon hard times. One of our attorneys, Mike Stewart, a veteran himself, volunteers with Madison County’s veteran court. It’s a court program run by veterans for veterans. The special court helps honorably discharged veterans who are struggling with legal problems resulting from drug, alcohol or mental health problems.

Here’s a great article about Madison County’s veterans court program that ran in yesterday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

On behalf of the Simmons law firm, I would like to thank past, present and future U.S. veterans around the world for the sacrifices they made on behalf of our country. We are forever proud of the men and women who continually risked their lives to protect ours. We hope through their example we will be inspired to become better people and a better nation.

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A Look Back on 2009

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.

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