Mr. Simons is well known for his recent work as a lawyer who has successfully represented employees in employment litigation. He was named as “Lawyer of the Year” in this field by Honolulu Magazine in both 2010 and 2012. During his legal career he has also had extensive experience in real estate and partnership litigation, and arbitration, as well as personal injury litigation.
While Mr. Simons has achieved successful results for clients in adversarial litigation, obtaining million dollar verdicts and judgments in court, in arbitration and before the HCRC, he has found that the most successful results for his clients, and the most efficient form of justice for all parties, is achieved through a successful mediation, shortly after litigation is filed, or, even better, before a lawsuit is filed. It has been his office policy to counsel clients to try mediation before litigation, and to offer that option to the opposing side. He was able to implement that policy so effectively that for 10 years from 1998 until 2008, his clients did not once have to go to court to achieve an acceptable resolution of their case.
Although Mr. Simons' primary training in dispute resolution has come from 36 years of successfully negotiating settlements to approximately 2000 cases, he has also had formal mediation and arbitration training from Institute For Dispute Resolution – Pepperdine University, The Mediation Center of the Pacific, and the American Arbitration Association. He has been an arbitrator on the AAA arbitration panel, was Chair of the HSBA Labor and Employment Section in 2013.
Although most of my professional experience has been as a civil litigator, I was brought up to be and have always been an entrepreneur. When I was a junior in high school, my father, who owned a small business, taught me how to read a financial statement, and put me to work. By age 20, while in college, I opened my first business, a retail store. Since then, except for a couple of years when I worked for another lawyer, I have always owned my own business, and have been personally responsible for paying the bills & meeting a payroll, twice a month, every month. Because I have that business training and experience, when I look at litigation involving a business, whether it is a commercial or employment matter, I see not only from the perspective of a litigator, but also from the perspective of a business owner.
As an attorney, I have litigated, arbitrated, and resolved thousands of employment, personal injury, commercial and medical malpractice cases during my 36 years of civil litigation practice in Honolulu. I successfully mediated to settlement over 500 employment cases as an advocate, and successfully litigated and arbitrated to judgment, civil cases involving employment, civil rights, real estate, personal injury and probate disputes. I have received awards of over $1,000,000 for my clients in arbitration, in civil jury trials, and from the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission.
My appreciation for mediation and my ability to resolve cases increased, as I became a more experienced litigator. By 1998, after 20 years of civil litigation practice, I had learned enough about litigation that, for the next 10 years, I was able to successfully resolve hundreds of employment and personal injury cases for my clients, without having to go to trial.
My streak of out-of-court settlements ended in 2008 when I had to take a whistleblower case to trial. That trial resulted in the largest employment verdict in Hawaii history – over $3,000,000, financially the most successful employment case in state history. The case then spent another 4 years on appeal, until it finally was successfully mediated, and settled. In 2013, my client and I received our first payment – 10 years after she was fired by the City.
That case, which was financially the best result ever obtained by a plaintiff’s employment attorney in state history, further convinced me that mediation was much better way to resolve disputes than litigation.