Payal A. Gurnani is an attorney at Simmons Hanly Conroy. She joined the firm in 2019, focusing her practice on mass torts and class actions, with an emphasis on cases involving internet privacy and dangerous drugs and devices.

A member of the Complex Litigation Department, Payal draws on more than 15 years’ experience as an attorney and a former career in information technology to help her clients. She directs a team of e-discovery attorneys, performs pre-trial evidentiary analysis, drafts memorandums, prepares witness presentations, assists with deposition preparation, as well as performs many other duties.

Before joining the firm, Payal practiced as a civil defense attorney where she worked on all stages of the litigation process, from intake to resolution, including taking and defending depositions, negotiating settlements and drafting, arguing and winning substantive motions. Her practice included a wide array of cases, ranging from medical malpractice and defamation lawsuits to products and employer’s liability matters.

“While practicing on the defense side gave me a good foundation as a young lawyer,” she said, “I knew plaintiff’s work was the right place for me long term, as I’ve always wanted to advocate for those who most needed a voice in the legal system.”

Litigating from a Technical Perspective

Before becoming an attorney, Payal held a position in the professional services industry as a software consultant for one of the Big Four consulting firms. She worked with Fortune 500 clients to understand their business and system requirements, and then implemented customized processes and cutting-edge technological solutions to fit their specific needs.

Now as an attorney, Payal leverages her technical background to provide her clients with a wholistic perspective regarding their cases and to secure the results they deserve.

“My technology and business background compliments my current practice areas and allows me to provide a sophisticated level of legal insight into the unique challenges each of my clients face,” she said.

Payal enjoys the learning that comes with each case and the specific knowledge she needs in order to fight for her clients.

“Whether it’s understanding how a class of drugs affects the human body or the magnitude of how it affects the community at large, for example, with my work on the opioid litigation, or the inner workings of internet browsers and search engines and how company-based programming affects the end user, I appreciate these details,” she said.

Background and Volunteer Work

After earning a B.S. degree in business administration with a concentration in management information systems from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1997, Payal attended law school at Northern Illinois University College of Law from 2002 to 2005.

“I became an attorney to help people. I believe in justice, doing the right thing and holding those who do wrong accountable for their actions,” she said.

Payal extends her passion for helping people to her volunteer work outside the courtroom. She currently volunteers for an organization that helps feed children in developing countries who are experiencing food insecurity.

While in law school, Payal advocated for students who were facing expulsion from the university. She also volunteered for a juvenile program, where she facilitated speakers and community service for troubled teens as an alternative to the court system.

After law school, she assisted at a legal aid clinic, led teams of volunteers at a soup kitchen, served as a court-appointed special advocate for children and worked as the director of development for a nonprofit organization where she secured funding for people with catastrophic spinal cord injuries.

Payal A. Gurnani

Practice Areas:

  • Mass Torts & Class Actions
  • Pharmaceutical Litigation

Bar and Court Admissions:

  • Illinois, 2005
  • S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 2006

Affiliations:

  • Chicago Bar Association

Education:

  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, B.S., Business Administration with a concentration in Management Information Systems, 1993-1997, Dean’s List
  • Northern Illinois University College of Law, J.D., 2002-2005, Dean’s List