Gracella Gail Simmons

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Partner
701 Main Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

M 225 383 3796

M 225 343 9612

F 225 343 9612

Gracella Simmons is one of those increasingly rare trial and appellate lawyers who actually goes to trial, something she has done for nearly 40 years throughout Louisiana's state and federal courts.  At one point, Gracella prevailed in double digit dismissals through motion practice.  In addition, Gracella has represented clients in 25 to 30 jury trials in her law career.  She has represented clients in major cases all the way to the Louisiana Supreme Court and to the Supreme Court of the United States. Undaunted, as Gracella puts it, "I'm always prepared to take a trial to the very end if that's in the best interests of my client." She is a lawyer's lawyer, often defending other attorneys in professional liability claims. She handles difficult cases involving physicians, nurses, psychologists and other health care providers accused of malpractice.  Over the years, much of her practice has focused on:
  • The defense side of multi-party litigation, commercial liability and tort claims against truckers, plants, property owners, companies and their insurers, often where there has been a fire, hurricane, electrical event, building failure or some other kind of accident in Louisiana resulting in significant loss of property, serious injury or death.
  • Helping local and national chain merchants, restaurants, industrial plants and other businesses with everything from slip-and-fall and food-related injuries to catastrophic, post-Katrina building collapses and other disasters with significant exposure to the client.
Gracella has been the choice of many national companies to represent their interests in Louisiana.  In addition to her courtroom practice, she helps clients before the state's administrative panels, including the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.  She is also a certified mediator and has mediated many cases in a wide variety of areas of law. Clients value her reputation for high professional and ethical standards and her priority on obtaining an early dismissal when that makes the most sense for the client.  Gracella is known by judges and her peers in the legal community as amicable, fair and civil – qualities which lend to her ability to represent her clients well and to put herself in her client's shoes. When she is not practicing law, Gracella is active in her hometown's civic, professional and philanthropic life.  She also has a creative streak, designing and giving away hundreds of hand-made Christmas cards every year to her clients, friends and colleagues. Additional practices:
  • Commercial Liability
  • Mediation/Arbitration
  • Successions

Representative Experience

Gracella argued two cases before the Louisiana Supreme Court which resulted in landmark decisions in the area of legal malpractice and workers compensation.  The cases are:
  • Reeves v. Structural Preservation Systems, 731 So.2d 208 (La. 1999)
  • MB Industries LLC v CNA  Insurance Company, 74 So.3rd 1173 (La. 2011)

Professional Affiliations

  • Member of United States Senator Bill Cassidy's committee to interview candidates for the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Middle District Judge, Middle District United States Attorney and Middle District United States Marshall
  • Mediator
  • Mediation lecturer at Louisiana State University School of Law and Southern University Law School
  • American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA); 2017 National Board Member
  • Served on National Board of Directors;
  • President, Vice-President, and Secretary Treasurer of Louisiana Chapter;
  • Member of Louisiana Executive Committee
  • Regularly participates in Masters in Trial, mock trials, throughout the country
  • Former member, Louisiana State Bar Association House of Delegates
  • Member, Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel (LADC)
  • Former member, Board of Directors
  • Member, Baton Rouge Bar Association
  • Member, Around the Bar Publication Committee
  • Member, Louisiana State Bar Association
  • Arbitrator for fee disputes through the Louisiana State Bar
  • Former member, Special Committee on Legal Malpractice Insurance
  • Served on panels for Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel Seminars
  • Served on panel before the Louisiana Association of Judges
  • Served on the Louisiana Law Institute Expedited Jury Trial Committee to draft legislation
  • Served on Investiture Committee for Judge John deGravelles-Middle District of Louisiana
  • Judge ad hoc, City Court-Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Honors Awards

  • Super Lawyers 2016 Top 25 Women Lawyers in Louisiana
  • Super Lawyers 2013-2017
  • AV Martindale Hubbell
  • AVVO rated 10
  • America's Top 100 Lawyers-Louisiana

Community Involvement

  • Board of Directors Opera Louisiane
  • President, Board of Directors, Yelp!BR
  • Former Board of Directors, Hospice of Baton Rouge
  • Former Board of Directors, Louisiana Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
  • Former Board of Directors, Baton Rouge Symphony
  • Former Board of Directors, Louisiana State University Museum of Art
  • Founder, Spirit of Christmas

Education

  • J.D., Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center, 1976
  • B.S., Louisiana State University, 1971
  • Harvard Law School, 2013
    – Program on Negotiation

Admissions

  • Louisiana, 1976
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana
  • U.S. Supreme Court

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