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LEARNING TO ADAPT

Amy Simonson’s Love of Learning and Ability to Adapt Pays Off For Commercial Litigation Clients

"I WANTED TO BUY CHRISTMAS PRESENTS. IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO EARN ENOUGH MONEY IN TIME GIVEN THAT CHORES WERE BEING PAID AT 25 CENTS PER TASK AND I HAD THREE OTHER SISTERS VYING FOR THE SAME CHRISTMAS MONEY. I KNEW I HAD TO THINK OF A DIFFERENT WAY," SAYS AMY SIMONSON, ASSOCIATE WITH WINGERT GREBING BRUBAKER & JUSKIE LLP. AND SHE DID. AT AGE 9, SIMONSON DRAFTED HER FIRST CONTRACT, CONVINCING HER MOM TO EXTEND HER $45 DOLLARS IN CREDIT.

Growing up the second of four daughters to a hardworking, but young, single mother, “I learned that not having as much as other kids did not have to limit my opportunities. My mother showed me by example that I just needed to set specific goals and to get creative,” Simonson says. That ability to roll with the punches, determine how to overcome obstacles, and change gears when necessary has proven to be the key to Simonson’s and her clients’ continued success.

LIFELONG LOVE OF LEARNING
Simonson’s love of learning how to find solutions reached a crescendo upon attending California Western School of Law. “I loved everything about law school. I loved the way that the law blended analytics with creativity because it allowed me to use both sides of my brain,” she says. Her school record serves as testament that not only did she love learning about the law, but that she worked hard and others took notice. Simonson was the recipient of an Academic Merit Tuition Scholarship, placed on the Dean’s Honor List each year, and graduated cum laude.

As much as she loved her studies, Simonson came to love practicing as an attorney even more. Simonson joined Wingert Grebing as an associate where she initially worked under Robert Juskie defending one of the largest retail shopping center chains in various types of premises liability actions. “I felt extraordinarily lucky to have gone through what we Wingert associates call the Juskie School of Litigation. Bob taught me you can never overprepare and sometimes the smallest details make the biggest difference in the outcome of a case.”
As Simonson’s skills as a litigator grew, so too did her eagerness to take on more complex cases. Today, 6 years after joining Wingert Grebing, Simonson’s practice has expanded to include the representation of clients in all aspects of general business litigation with an emphasis on complex commercial disputes involving contracts, land use, unfair business practice claims and insurance bad faith.

In just over a year’s time, Simonson tried an entitlement case against a municipality, certified and settled a WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) class action on behalf of 111 employees, litigated an insurance bad faith case obtaining over a half million dollars in fees on behalf of her firm and was in trial for over 6 weeks on a wrongful interference/trade secret case, obtaining a complete victory on behalf of 5 of the firm’s clients.

Another example of being able to adapt to new challenges is Simonson’s recent representation of multiple large downtown hotels charged with exorbitant penalties pursuant to the City of San Diego’s new fire alarm penalty fine structure. “My first reaction when I started working on these cases was to challenge everything, from the nature of the fine to how the structure was implemented to how violators were notified. After one administrative appeal, I realized my clients would benefit more by sitting down with the Fire Marshall and learning how to stop the false alarms from occurring, than they would through an administrative appeal. Through cooperation with the City, we were able to save my hotel clients hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties. At the same time, we helped to rectify the underlying reasons for the false alarms and saved critical resources, which was the main purpose of enacting the new fire alarm penalties.

"NO MATTER WHAT TYPE OF CASE I AM WORKING ON, I HAVE LEARNED THAT IT IS CRUCIAL TO DEFINE WHAT MY CLIENT'S GOALS ARE AT THE OUTSET OF THE LITIGATION."

UNDERSTANDING EXPECTATIONS
“No matter what type of case I am working on, I have learned that it is crucial to define what my client’s goals are at the outset of the litigation,” she says. Simonson knows the importance of listening to her clients. Just like she did with her mother as a child, once she has a clear understanding of what their goals are, she is able to effectively advocate a solution on their behalf.
Of her petite frame (just over 5 feet) and blonde hair, she says, “I get the sense that I am frequently underestimated.”
While most may see this as a disadvantage, Simonson sees it as an opportunity. “I know myself and I know what I’m capable of accomplishing. People who know me don’t underestimate my preparation and determination.”

That being said, Simonson understands the advantages of maintaining a friendly relationship when dealing with opposing counsel. “One piece of advice I probably use most often was given to me by one of my dearest clients, who is 95 and was a nurse in World War II. I was upset at her self-represented attorney-neighbor who was bullying her to cut down a tree she loved so dearly. I couldn’t understand how someone could be so vindictive knowing she planted that tree herself in 1960 and it reminded her of all she had loved and lost since then. When I expressed my frustrations to her, she told me, “Get out of the hole!” Confused, I said, “What?” She said, “You are supposed to be helping me out of the hole. If you jump in here with me, there will be nobody to drag us out.” Whenever a case seems to be having too great an effect on me, I always think to myself, “Get out of the hole, Amy!”
As far as the future is concerned, Simonson is looking forward to immersing herself in increasingly complex case. She loves the challenge of coming up with creative solutions. Clearly, Simonson has laid a solid foundation for a lasting career in San Diego.


Contact:
Amy Simonson, Esq.
Wingert Grebing Brubaker & Juskie LLP
www.wingertlaw.com
Asimonson@wingertlaw.com
619-232-8151
600 W. Broadway, Suite 1200
San Diego, California 92101-3370

 

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