Illinois Super Lawyers Magazine Honors Four Simmons Attorneys

Perry Browder Named Super Lawyer; John Barnerd, Paul Lesko, John Wagner Named Rising Stars

Browder5792-webSimmons Hanly Conroy Shareholder Perry Browder has been recognized as a 2011 Illinois Super Lawyer in the February edition of the Illinois Super Lawyers magazine. The ranking is published annually by Minneapolis-based Law & Politics.

Firm Shareholder John Barnerd, Intellectual Property Department Head Paul Lesko, and attorney John Wagner have also been recognized by theIllinois Super Lawyer magazine as 2011 Rising Stars. This year marks the fourth consecutive year Barnerd has been recognized, the third consecutive year for Lesko and the first year for Wagner.

To be considered in the Super Lawyer’s rankings an attorney is either nominated by his or her peers or identified by the Super Lawyers research department, which is a service of Thomas Rueters. The research team then evaluates the nominee according to 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Each year, only 5 percent of the state’s lawyers receive the distinction of Super Lawyer while only 2.5 percent are recognized as Rising Stars.

Browder has been lead counsel in more than 200 asbestos and mesothelioma lawsuits resulting from companies’ disregard of the dangers of asbestos exposure. He currently heads the firm’s asbestos and mesothelioma department, which has represented Navy veterans, union workers and blue collar workers across the nation who were diagnosed with mesothelioma. He has successfully litigated millions of dollars for his clients, including a $250 million verdict against U.S. Steel, the largest mesothelioma verdict in U.S. history.

Browder is also active on the Illinois Bar Foundation’s board and works to support pro bono legal work for low income families throughout the state.


Barnerd joined the law firm over eight years ago, and in July 2009 his name was added to the letterhead with the firm changed its business name to Simmons Hanly Conroy, LLC.

In addition to having represented hundreds of families and individuals impacted by mesothelioma, Barnerd is a board member of the Simmons Employee Foundation, which has raised more than $500,000 for Illinois charities since 2004.


Lesko focuses his practice on helping inventors and small businesses develop and maintain an equal footing in the marketplace by enforcing their intellectual property rights against companies that infringe those rights. His cases have taken on entire industries, including the financial, telecommunications and electronic voting industries. He has represented clients against some of the world’s largest companies, including Google, Apple, Visa and Cisco.


Wagner concentrates his practice on protecting the rights of victims of asbestos exposure and dangerous drugs and medical devices. He has helped recover millions of dollars on behalf of hundreds of clients impacted by mesothelioma, defective heart devices and Vioxx.

The complete ranking of the 2011 Illinois Super Lawyers will appear in the February edition of the magazine. For more information, visit