ALTON, Ill. (Oct. 25, 2016) – Simmons Hanly Conroy is pleased to announce that the firm has been named by the Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee as the Pro Bono Firm of the Year for 2016.
Simmons Hanly Conroy was honored for its longstanding commitment to pro bono initiatives, including the Madison County Expungement Day hosted by the firm in 2016 and the annual Madison County Bar Association Internship Program (MCIP), which was founded by Simmons Hanly Conroy attorney Jo Ann Pollock.
Made up of lawyers and judges, the Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee strives to enhance equal access to justice by encouraging and promoting pro bono work in the Third Judicial Circuit, which is in the Fifth Appellate District and includes Bond and Madison counties in Illinois.
“We are humbled by this recognition by the Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee for our firm and our attorneys’ ongoing pro bono efforts and programs,” said John Simmons, chairman of Simmons Hanly Conroy. “Whether it’s helping to give our neighbors a second chance at improving their lives, encouraging future leaders in the legal profession, or helping people diagnosed with asbestos-causing cancer and their families, our firm will always be committed to supporting the people and communities that we serve.”
Presented by the Madison County Circuit Court and the State Attorney’s Office and held at the firm’s Alton office on June 18, the Madison County Expungement Day helped approximately 200 people begin an expedited process to have their criminal records sealed or expunged. Attorneys from Simmons Hanly Conroy and the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation volunteered their time at the event, which also included drug testing on-site. The event allowed attendees to meet with an attorney to determine their eligibility, file all necessary paperwork, and pay filing fees on a single day in one location.
Started in 2012, the MCIP matches Alton-area high school students with attorneys whom the students shadow in visits to courthouses and at depositions and help with filing and office work. One of the goals of the four-week program is to encourage students from diverse backgrounds to consider law careers. Pollock is chair of the MCIP Sub-Committee of the Third Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee, which helps coordinate the program.
In addition to its pro bono programs, Simmons Hanly Conroy is the leader among law firms for supporting the mesothelioma community, contributing more than $20 million to cancer research, and is a major corporate contributor overall to the cause. Simmons Hanly Conroy helped build the Simmons Cancer Institute at Southern Illinois University and spearheads the annual Alton Miles for Meso 5K race, in addition to sponsoring other walks and runs around the country.
Simmons Hanly Conroy was formally honored as the Pro Bono Firm of the Year at the Third Judicial Circuit Celebrate Pro Bono Luncheon Oct. 25 in Edwardsville, Ill.