An alumnus of the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law has been named as “Lawyer of the Year” by the Utah State Bar.
Paul M. Simmons graduated from the U in 1985 and was honored with the award in Sun Valley, Idaho. He is an attorney at Dewsnup King Olsen Worel Havas Mortensen. Before that, he clerked for the Honorable Bruce S. Jenkins of the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah and was a partner at Suitter Axland Armstrong & Hanson.
He has enjoyed an extensive career as both an attorney and a legal scholar, with expertise in complex brief writing and appeals. He has briefed or argued more than 50 appeals in Utah and federal courts. Among the more significant reported decisions in which he has appeared as counsel include Normandeau v. Hanson Equipment, 2009 UT 44, 215 P.3d 152; Judd v. Drezga, 2004 UT 91, 203 P.3d 135; Parks v. Utah Transit Auth., 2002 UT 55, 53 P.3d 473; Sanns v. Ford Motor Co., 2004 UT App 203, 94 P.3d 301; and House v. Armour of Am., Inc., 886 P.2d 542 ( Utah Ct. App. 1994), aff’d, 929 P.2d 340 ( Utah 1996).
Simmons has edited and contributed articles to the Utah Trial Journal and other publications, including articles on medical malpractice verdicts, strict products liability and comparative fault, and preservation of issues for appeal.
He currently serves on the Utah Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Model Utah Jury Instructions and the Utah State Bar’s Governmental Relations Committee. He previously served for 14 years on the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah’s Advisory Committee on the Local Rules of Practice, from 1989 to 2003.
He is widely recognized by his peers and by other professionals in being named to many of the nation’s most highly recognized listings of top lawyers including Best Lawyers in America, Martindale-Hubbell® Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, Mountain States Super Lawyers, and Utah Business magazine’s listing of the Legal Elite. He also has received awards from various professional groups including the Utah Trial Lawyers Association (Super Star award) and the Utah State Bar, for service to the Litigation Section’s Voir Dire project, and as co-recipient of the Bar’s Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year and Outstanding Mentor awards.
First admitted to practice in all Utah state courts more than 30 years ago, he has been admitted to the bars of federal courts throughout the country, including the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th and 10th Circuits, and the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern & Western Districts of Arkansas, District of Colorado, Western District of Michigan, and the District of Utah.
A native of California, Paul graduated magna cum laude from Brigham Young University in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a minor in Spanish. After working as an editor for several years, he returned to school and received his juris doctorate from what in 1985 was named the University of Utah College of Law, where he was a member of the Utah Law Review and the Order of the Coif legal honor society.
Simmons is also a member of the American Bar Association and its Litigation and Torts and Insurance Practice sections. In addition, he is a member of and serves on the Board of Governors of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) and the Utah Association for Justice (UAJ) and is a fellow of the Pound Civil Justice Institute.