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Shareholder Amy Garrett brings more than 15 years of litigation experience to her leadership role on the asbestos management team at Simmons Hanly Conroy. Her work has helped secure millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of individuals and families suffering from asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma.
Amy joined the firm in 2003. She became an asbestos trial team leader and was promoted to shareholder in 2009. A veteran litigator, Amy oversees the firm’s Madison County docket. She also helps manage the firm’s intake process and client relations department.
“Even though we are a large firm, I pride myself on the personal attention I give to each and every client’s case that crosses my desk,” Amy said. “Our size is an advantage for our clients because we have vast collective legal experience helping people harmed by asbestos exposure.”
Amy worked on the litigation team in Simpkins, et al. v CSX Transportation, which succeeded on appeal in front of the Illinois Supreme Court. The case set an important precedent in Illinois for people injured by second-hand asbestos exposure, establishing that companies have a duty to warn employees’ family members about the dangers of asbestos.
“I have a genuine interest in every person’s story and feel like it’s my job to give my clients the power to fight for themselves and their families,” Amy said.
A native of the metro St. Louis area, Amy has always looked for ways to give back to her community in and out of the courtroom. She is a past director of the firm’s employee foundation, which has donated more than $1 million to charities in the St. Louis area. She also founded and is the coordinator for the firm’s pro bono program and serves on the 3rd Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee in Madison County.
In 2008, Amy collaborated with the Veterans’ Legal Support Clinic at John Marshall Law School to facilitate training for downstate volunteer attorneys who were willing to represent veterans in their Veterans’ Administration claims.
Following this success, she was instrumental in the formation of Simmons’ formal pro bono program. Amy collaborated with Chief Judge Ann Callis of the 3rd Judicial Circuit Court and the Illinois State Bar Association to identify the community’s most needed services. She trained attorneys within the firm on guardian ad litum cases, offering free representation to minors and disabled adults in custody and guardianship disputes.
Because of Amy’s efforts, ISBA awarded the firm the John C. McAndrews Award in 2009. The award honors members of the legal profession who have shown extraordinary commitment to providing free legal services to the poor. The firm was also awarded the Bartylak Public Service Award in 2012 by the Madison County Bar Association for their pro bono efforts in the Madison County legal community.
Amy graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Illinois-Champaign/Urbana in 1995
After graduating from Washington University School of Law in 1998, Amy worked as a staff attorney for Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation in Alton, Illinois, representing indigent clients and domestic violence victims in divorce, custody and protective order cases. She then moved to the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office, where she handled hundreds of cases, many of which involved helping women who were victims of domestic abuse.
Amy also served on the 3rd Judicial Circuit Court’s Domestic Violence Coordinating Council and the Phoenix Crisis Center Board of Directors. After leaving the State’s Attorney’s Office, she worked with the Alton law firm Mendenhall & Selby before joining the firm in 2003.
“Helping give people facing a terminal diagnosis some peace of mind makes every day as a lawyer worthwhile,” Amy said. “I still correspond with former clients, and nothing brings me greater satisfaction than when I hear the firm’s work allowed the family to stay afloat, pay for their kids’ college and continue to lead some of the life they had intended before mesothelioma.”