Member Monday: Perry J. Browder

Shareholder/Manager of Asbestos Department // Simmons Hanly Conroy

Description of your practice

Simmons Hanly Conroy is a nationwide litigation firm headquartered in Alton, Illinois with additional offices in Chicago, St. Louis, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. We have helped thousands of clients across the country harmed by corporate wrongdoing. I oversee our asbestos litigation practice, which annually represents more people harmed by mesothelioma than any other law firm in the country. We work in small teams, which allows us to give personal attention to each client’s case. At the same time, we have the resources as a national law firm to hold large corporations accountable. Our mesothelioma clients are terminally ill so our experience of being able to move their case through the legal process and get it on file before they pass away is crucial.

Why are you a member of the WBAI?

Kate Conway introduced me to WBAI, and I’m looking forward to having our involvement continue to grow. I decided to become a member because, as a firm leader, I want to better serve the attorneys and staff at SHC and support their success.

What do you think is the best way to empower women in law?

The best way to empower women in law is to listen and then act. For example, a few years after the firm first started, we decided to provide all mothers with a full three months of paid maternity leave. The firm adopted this policy in the early 2000s. Yet, nearly 20 years later only 17 percent of the workforce has access to paid family leave, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. I have found that providing this level of support encourages all women in law to grow and become successful, whether it is with our attorneys, our support staff, or our clients.

In addition, it’s also important to provide women the ability to succeed by giving them opportunities to work on high-profile projects and cases. At Simmons Hanly Conroy, thanks to Named Shareholder Jayne Conroy and Assistant Managing Partner Amy Garrett, we have seen firsthand how successful women can be both in and out of the courtroom at getting results for our clients, which in turn promotes the professional goals of the firm.

What are you most looking forward to in the following year, personally/professionally?

Professionally, I am looking forward to this pandemic ending so our clients get their day in court and the justice they deserve. My clients have been diagnosed with terminal asbestos cancer as a result of exposures caused by corporations choosing profits over people. The average prognosis for a mesothelioma patient is 6-18 months. It is incumbent we get timely results so they can receive much-needed medical care and comfort, but also so they have peace of mind knowing their families are secure. The pandemic, not only with court closures but also the embracing of new technologies, has underscored the value our courts provide as an impartial venue and our role as client advocates within them. I’m looking forward to building on the success and lessons from an unprecedented 2020.

Personally, I am looking forward to traveling again. My practice as a mesothelioma attorney has taken me throughout the state of Illinois and all over the other 48 states. I enjoy traveling and helping clients and also presenting at national conferences. After a long day of depositions or speaking in small or big town America, there’s nothing better than finding the local barbeque joint, like 17th Street BBQ in Murphysboro or Sparks Steak House in New York City. Small town or large city, I’m looking forward to getting out again and meeting people. It’s a privilege to represent them, both in and out of the courtroom.

Tell us something interesting about you.

I am a history buff, it was my college major. As an asbestos attorney, when I litigated individual cases, I loved digging through older archives, libraries, etc., searching for the pieces of the puzzle from 40-50 years ago that caused our clients’ injuries.