Attorney Jeff Simmons serves as Chair of the Maricopa Health Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to advance patient welfare at Maricopa Medical Center, to advance the practices of health care professionals through education and research, and to sponsor educational and scientific activities, projects, and programs that accomplish these objectives.
“I became involved with the Maricopa Health Foundation when the past executive director worked with me on another board. The Foundation had lost an attorney from their board, and they felt it would be advantageous to have a lawyer’s perspective again. It has been a rewarding experience to see the Foundation grow since I joined the Board four years ago.”
Jeff continues, “I enjoy my volunteering with the Maricopa Health Foundation, but actually my law specialty is as a transportation law specialist. I represent motor, air, rail and even ocean carriers. I deal with matters such as lost or damaged cargo and also freight charge and tariff issues. The majority of those matters involve the Federal Interstate Commerce Act. Most people don’t realize that approximately ninety percent of what we have around us, our food, clothing, building materials, furniture, etc., has been transported interstate. Transportation really impacts everyone’s daily life.”
Last year, the State Bar of Arizona named Jeffrey Simmons one of the Top 50 Pro Bono lawyers in the state. He explains, “I usually volunteer at landlord-tenant clinics, where I help people who face losing their homes. They are usually disadvantaged, and a slumlord might be taking advantage of them. I sift through the evidence, and work to fight unfair evictions. It’s a very rewarding process. And it really puts things into perspective for me! I especially enjoy volunteering around the holidays, so I can make sure people have a home where they can celebrate!”
As he details the steps that brought him here , “I became a lawyer because that’s what I always wanted to be. Even as a young boy I had a love of history, and enjoyed reading about the US presidents. Other kids were reading tales about superheroes, but I had the presidents as my heroes, and I realized many of them had begun as lawyers. It has been my way to participate in government.” He laughs, “At one time I had political aspirations, but now I have other priorities.”
Simmons is an Indiana native who has been in Arizona since 1983. “My parents moved here when I was a senior in high school. But I stayed behind in Indiana with my grandparents, finished high school, and then went to college at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. I completed my Juris Doctor at the University of Arizona, and then I just never left the area!”
Jeff most appreciates the beautiful scenery and mountains of Arizona, and enjoys the weather, especially in the winter. “I also value that a person doesn’t have to be from the area to have credibility and respect, or to make important contributions to the community.”
His other leisure interests include oil painting. “ I usually focus on still lifes, and landscapes, but right now I’m painting my four year old son, featuring him as a boy on a beach. And since my son is just four years old, he pretty much consumes all of my free time!”
Jeff Simmons has a firm commitment to volunteering. “I believe that people who are in a position to give back – should! Giving of your time should be a major priority.” And this Phoenix lawyer does just that, leading by example.
What are your volunteer activities? I serve as Chair of the Maricopa Health Foundation and as President of the Law College Association at U of A. I also provide pro bono legal services for the Volunteer Lawyers Program
Which social event is your favorite? MHF’s CopaBall
Favorite Restaurant? Chelsea’s Kitchen
Who is your hero and why? Thomas Jefferson. He was a Renaissance man: US President, statesman, lawyer, architect, farmer, inventor, author, University of Virginia founder, etc. In those roles, he not only shaped our government, but our society.
Who is the most interesting celebrity you have ever met? Jon Bon Jovi.
If your life were a movie, whom would you want to play your part? Daniel Craig
Do you have any Pets? Yes, Jack, the English Bulldog.
When you move, what will your home tell its next owner, about you? Our love of historic homes and their preservation.
What words describe you best? Diligent
What words would you like others to use to describe you? The best at what he does.
What was your first job? Working on an Indiana farm.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned through the years? Do your best no matter the size of the task.
What is the trait you most deplore in others? Dishonesty.
What is your greatest indulgence? Ice cream.
What is the greatest gift you have ever given and received? Greatest gift given: engagement ring. Greatest received: our only child, Harrison.
What is your current state of mind? Optimistic.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? Last year, a unanimous defense verdict after a month-long jury trial where the plaintiffs were seeking $22 million in a toxic tort case.
What is your most treasured possession? My home.
What is the quality you most like in people? Genuineness.
Favorite books / Writers? My recent favorites are two thrillers set in modern-day Russia by local author Brent Ghelfi, Volk’s Game and Volk’s Shadow. I have always enjoyed Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels. Also, I am a big fan of David McCullough’s historical biographies and accounts, such as John Adams and 1776.
What is the best advice you have ever received? If you are too big to do small things, then you are too small to do big things.