The 1992 acquittal of four Los Angeles police officers charged in connection with the beating of Rodney King, much of which was videotaped, prompted Camisha Simmons to become a lawyer.
"I was taken aback by the outcome of the trial," Simmons recalls.
She says she began thinking, "Maybe we need people who look like me in the legal field. . . . I felt like, as an attorney, I could make the system more just."
After receiving her J.D. magna cum laude from Texas Tech University School of Law in 2006, Simmons served as a law clerk for Mary F. Walrath, then-chief judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Following her clerkship, she joined Weil, Gotshal & Manges in New York City and moved to DLA Piper in 2009, she says. She joined Fulbright & Jaworski as an associate in Dallas in March 2011.
Simmons, whose practice focuses on bankruptcy and insolvency, currently is part of a team representing AT&T in a dispute between Halo Wireless Inc. and a number of local telephone companies that initiated suits against Halo before 10 state public utility commissions.
Fulbright partner Bill Platt of Dallas, co-counsel in Halo, says Simmons has been the only associate who has been a primary attorney on the case. Platt says Halo has been a "very pleading-intensive case" and that Simmons has been responsible for a lot of the drafting.
"She did an excellent job of that," Platt says.
According to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ June 18, 2012, opinion in In the Matter of: Halo Wireless Inc., Halo filed for bankruptcy as a result of the suits, and the phone companies asked the bankruptcy court to find that the various PUC actions are not subject to the automatic stay provided by the Bankruptcy Code. As noted in the 5th Circuit’s opinion, the bankruptcy court found that the exception to the stay in the code applies to the state commission proceedings and remanded the litigation to the commissions. The 5th Circuit affirmed the bankruptcy court’s judgment.
In 2009, Simmons was one of the attorneys representing the Associated Press in a motion to intervene in In Re: Catholic Diocese of Wilmington Inc. She says the diocese, while in the process of trying to settle suits over alleged sexual abuse of minors, filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware and requested the court to seal the first settlement in those suits. AP sought to intervene in the bankruptcy proceeding to learn the settlement amount.
Simmons says she was the lead drafter on the motion to intervene, in which AP argued that disclosing the settlement amount would not result in injury to the diocese’s commercial operations. The motion cited Walrath’s 2006 opinion in In Re: Alterra Healthcare Corp., which Simmons says she participated in drafting as a law clerk. In a Dec. 17, 2009, order the bankruptcy court granted the motion and ordered the diocese to file a notice setting forth the settlement amount.