Attorney Jennifer L. Alesio is a shareholder at Simmons Hanly Conroy in the San Francisco office. She focuses her practice on mesothelioma and asbestos-related cases, helping injured workers and their families secure the justice they deserve. In the 10 years Jennifer has practiced law, her tenacity in the courtroom and empathetic approach to clients has resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for her clients.
“It’s my job to tell the stories of the workers and families who have been so irrevocably impacted by the harm caused by these companies,” Jennifer said. “The best part of this job is being able to meet with a sick worker or a mourning family and tell them that we achieved some measure of justice on their behalf.”
Working with Jennifer
Jennifer’s clients can expect her to be a true champion for them during the entire legal process. In her role at Simmons Hanly Conroy, Jennifer’s responsibilities include working in conjunction with trial teams to build cases designed to go to verdict and achieve the best possible outcomes for clients. While Jennifer’s command of the legal landscape contributes greatly to her success, it’s not the only trait that makes her invaluable to clients.
“Trials can be emotional and intimidating experiences for many people. I think one of the first jobs of a trial attorney is to be the person who clients trust to take all of that fear, anxiety or worry off their shoulders and put it on my own,” she said. “That is as much a trial attorney’s job as a surgical cross-examination or a barn-burning closing argument. I tell every client before a trial that they are the witness that the defense is most afraid of, that all they need to do is tell the truth, and that the rest of the worrying is my job.”
Jennifer takes this philosophy to heart and puts it into practice with every case she tries.
“Jurors and clients can spot inauthenticity miles away,” she said. “When I tell a client to put their worries on my shoulders, that’s not just a thing I say. I use that trust as fuel to make sure I am never outworked.”
While Jennifer realizes the gravity and emotional weight that comes with the cases she works on, she also respects the positivity that comes with “fighting the good fight.”
“One of my favorite quotes is from E.B. White,” she said. “I’m paraphrasing, but the gist is, ‘I wake up every morning determined to both change the world and have one heck of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.’ I’ve found that the work I do doesn’t make planning the day that difficult because fighting the good fight with a talented team can be a heck of a good time, and, in small, but very real ways, it changes the world.”
Success as a Trial Lawyer
In the 10 years she’s been practicing law, Jennifer has successfully tried close to 100 cases. Her successes have been recognized as a “Top Plaintiffs’ Verdict” by The Daily Journal, a “Top 100 Verdict” by The National Law Journal, and The Recorder’s “Largest Products Liability Verdict of 2014.”
Two of her key verdicts include the following:
In October 2014, Jennifer represented Robert and Linda Whalen against John Crane, Inc., in a six-week trial in Alameda County, California. Robert served 26 years as a U.S. Navy machinist and nuclear inspector who worked on nuclear submarines, where he worked with asbestos-containing products. He was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in December 2013. The jury awarded a total of $70.861 million to the couple for economic and non-economic damages. (https://www.mercurynews.com/2014/11/05/east-bay-jury-awards-couple-70-million-in-lawsuit-against-john-crane-inc/)
In August 2017, Jennifer represented Robert and Bonnie Sprague in Portland, Oregon. Robert was exposed to asbestos-containing insulation on ships while serving in the Navy from 1960 to 1964. While working as a pipefitter from 1965 to 1987, he came into contact with asbestos-containing gaskets and packing material made by John Crane, Inc. After a three-week trial and two days of deliberations, a jury returned a $5.4 million verdict in favor of the Spragues. The verdict included punitive damages in the amount of $3 million. (https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2017/08/portland_jury_awards_man_suffe.html)
An Award-winning Attorney
Jennifer’s accomplishments are well-documented not only through verdicts, settlements and press clippings, but also through the awards and accolades she’s received from her peers and community. A few of her notable honors include:
- “Trial Lawyer of the Year,” 2015, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association
- “Top 40 Under 40 Outstanding Young Business Leader,” North Bay Business Journal
- “Rising Star,” California Super Lawyers, 2015-2018
Jennifer has also been invited as a speaker to several noteworthy events, including:
- Perrin conferences
- San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association
- San Francisco Bar Association
- American Bar Association’s Toxic Tort and Environmental Law Conference
Jennifer received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Vassar College in 2005. In 2008, she graduated with her J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law. While in law school, she received several awards, including:
- Herman J. Wildman Social Justice Writing Award
- Justice John Paul Stevens Fellowship
- Award for Academic Excellence in Evidence
- Witkin Award for Academic Excellence in Human Rights Law
She also attended the TIPS/ABOTA National Trial Academy in 2011. Before her position at Simmons Hanly Conroy, Jennifer was the Los Angeles managing attorney and senior trial counsel for a large California-based plaintiffs’ asbestos firm.