Seven Simmons Hanly Conroy Attorneys Selected as Illinois Super Lawyers, Rising Stars

Three Simmons Hanly Conroy Shareholders, including Chairman John Simmons, have been named to the Illinois Super Lawyers list, placing them among the top attorneys in Illinois for 2012. Perry Browder and Derek Brandt join Simmons among the top 5 percent of lawyers in Illinois selected as Super Lawyers.

Four additional attorneys, Shareholders John Barnerd and Randy Cohn, and Intellectual Property attorneys Paul Lesko and JoAnna Pollock, have also been recognized as Rising Stars. This ranks them as among the top 2.5 percent of outstanding young attorneys in the state.

To be listed as an Illinois Super Lawyer, an attorney is either nominated by his or her peers or identified by the Super Lawyers research department, which is a service of Thomson Reuters. The research team then evaluates the nominee according to 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement.

This year marks Simmons’s debut as a Super Lawyer. He is also ranked as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association. Simmons founded the firm in 1999 with seven employees and a focus on asbestos litigation. Under his leadership the firm has grown to more than 200 employees, including nearly 60 attorneys, with offices in Alton, St. Louis, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Browder has been named a Super Lawyer for the second consecutive year. He has been lead counsel in more than 200 mesothelioma lawsuits, representing victims of asbestos exposure. He has successfully recovered millions of dollars on behalf his clients, including a $250 million verdict against U.S. Steel, the largest verdict of its kind in U.S. history.

Brandt heads the firm’s commercial litigation practice, representing businesses and individuals in matters of competition, contract actions, fraud actions and other business torts.  Derek’s representations have ranged from a small innovative medical device manufacturer to a multinational Fortune 100 company with market capitalization in excess of $50 billion.

Barnerd is a lead negotiator for the firm’s asbestos department. He has been recognized as a Rising Star in personal injury litigation for the past five years. A former state’s attorney for Madison County, Ill., he joined the firm over nine years ago. In July 2009, his name was added to the letterhead when the firm changed its business name to Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC.

Cohn became a Shareholder at the beginning of 2012. He oversees a team of investigators and has developed a unique focus on helping victims of Navy-related asbestos exposure, recovering millions on their behalf.

Lesko has been named a Rising Star since 2009. He and fellow intellectual property attorney JoAnna Pollock have taken on entire sectors, including the financial, telecommunications and electronic voting industries.

The complete ranking of the 2011 Illinois Super Lawyers appeared in the January edition of the magazine. For more information, visit