He started his legal career as a writ clerk at the West Virginia Supreme Court in 1982, before spending five years as a personal clerk for West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Thomas B. Miller. After completing his tenure with Justice Miller, Mr. Simmons began his career as a litigator representing injured plaintiffs.
A significant portion of Mr. Simmons' caseload involves appealing decisions from the circuit courts to the West Virginia Supreme Court. As an appellate lawyer, he has successfully prosecuted a substantial number of appeals before the West Virginia Supreme Court, including appeals of wrongful death verdicts, employment discrimination claims, personal injury actions, and criminal convictions.
Mr. Simmons was one of the first lawyers in the United States to use DNA testing to free an innocent person from prison. His representation of Glen Dale Woodall, whose case was featured on the 48 Hours television program and is included in the book Actual Innocence by Barry Scheck, Peter Neufeld, and Jim Dwyer, resulted in Mr. Woodall's freedom. It also led to a $1 million wrongful conviction settlement from the State of West Virginia. Mr. Simmons' DNA litigation on behalf of Mr. Woodall led to the exposure of numerous instances of false and faulty work by chief serologist for the West Virginia State Police, which eventually led to the release of other wrongly convicted innocent people.
Throughout his career, Mr. Simmons has obtained significant recoveries in a diverse range of claims, including wrongful conviction, police misconduct, and other civil rights violations. As a member of the West Virginia Employment Lawyers Association, Mr. Simmons has represented many clients and tried many cases involving employees wrongfully fired from their jobs, based upon disability, age, sex, and other types of discrimination. He regularly teaches seminars for other lawyers addressing employment issues.