ALTON, Illinois – Simmons Hanly Conroy, one of the nation’s largest mass torts firms, is pleased to announce the American Association for Justice (AAJ) will recognize Named Shareholders Jayne Conroy and Paul J. Hanly Jr. (posthumously) at its annual convention July 12-15 in Las Vegas.
Advocating for Americans’ right to trial by jury, the AAJ annually honors members of more than 20 years whose courtroom advocacy has significantly advanced the rights of the wrongfully injured with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Before his passing in May 2021, Hanly dedicated his 40-year legal career to helping others, with cases ranging from child abuse, defective drugs and devices, toxic exposures, economic conspiracies, to the terrorism of 9/11. With more than 30 years of experience as a skilled strategist, trial lawyer and negotiator, Conroy focuses her practice on complex civil cases. The 2021 AAJ Lifetime Achievement Award highlights Conroy and Hanly’s work on the prescription opioid crisis.
Hanly served as co-lead of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee (PEC) for the National Prescription Opiate Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). In October 2019, Hanly and his team finalized a $260 million settlement deal with the remaining four defendants just hours before opening arguments were set to begin. The deal brought the total recovery to $325 million and avoided what would have been the first bellwether trial in the litigation.
In January 2020, Hanly received an Elite Trial Lawyers Lifetime Achievement Award from The National Law Journal. Then, in November, a global settlement deal in the multidistrict litigation, worth $26 billion with three opioid distributors and drug manufacturer was announced, of which Hanly played a major role in securing as co-lead. He also continued to hold leadership roles in state litigation until his passing in May.
Conroy has taken over as co-lead of the PEC, in addition to her role as lead counsel for Suffolk County, New York in the state consolidated opioid litigation. On June 29, she presented opening arguments in the trial, which is the first opioid trial to take place in front of a jury in the country. With multiple defendants, the trial is so large it’s taking place inside a law school auditorium on Long Island. Conroy has previously been recognized for her work on behalf of the wrongfully injured, including being named to the 2020 Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Trailblazer list by The National Law Journal and induction into the American Law Institute.
“Jayne and Paul have worked tirelessly to hold opioid manufacturers and distributors and retail pharmacies accountable,” said Chairman John Simmons. “They don’t pursue justice to receive awards, but we are still pleased when organizations like AAJ recognize the work Paul accomplished and Jayne is continuing to spearhead on behalf of those whose lives have been irreparably damaged as a result of corporate wrongdoing.”
Hanly earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University, his master’s degree in philosophy from Cambridge University and his J.D. from Georgetown.
Conroy received her J.D. from New England School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College.