Simone Francis effectively spearheads and collaborates with external and internal teams to identify and deliver solutions to clients. As a civil litigator with more than 20 years of experience, Ms. Francis has managed the defense of high-stakes lawsuits involving a range of federal, state, and territorial laws. She has acted as lead counsel in several trials, and she has argued numerous cases before federal and local trial and appeals courts. Ms. Francis also has served as an advocate before the American Arbitration Association and several administrative tribunals, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the New York State Division of Human Rights, and the Virgin Islands Public Employees Relations Board.
Simone provides proactive and practical advice before litigation arises. She has developed customized, interactive training programs to educate supervisory and management personnel about their responsibilities for ensuring compliance with employment laws and preparing performance-focused evaluations. In addition, she routinely counsels businesses concerning a range of workplace issues, including managing internal investigations and disciplinary proceedings, evaluating and responding to requests for leave and other accommodations, and developing personnel policies. An active member of the firm’s Workplace Investigations and Organizational Assessments, and Diversity and Inclusion Practice Groups, Ms. Francis advises companies with respect to diversity and inclusion initiatives, including evaluating programs for hiring and promoting diverse talent, developing and analyzing internal and external communications about DEI programs, surveys and metrics, investigating complaints about workplace culture concerns, and assessing and responding to internal complaints and litigation concerning the effectiveness or legality of DEI initiatives.
Before joining Ogletree Deakins, Ms. Francis practiced with general litigation firms in Washington, D.C. and the Virgin Islands. Utilizing that experience, she continues to represent a diverse group of business clients in complex litigation involving premises liability and products liability claims.
Ms. Francis is a frequent speaker on employment law topics, and she has appeared at conferences throughout the United States. As a member of the American Law Institute, Ms. Francis has participated in the Members Consultative Group for the Restatement of Employment Law and in the Members Consultative Group for Principles of the Law, Student Sexual Misconduct: Procedural Frameworks for Colleges and Universities. In addition to her role as Office Managing Shareholder of the St. Thomas office, Ms. Francis previously served on the firm’s Professional Development Steering Committee and has actively participated as a member of the firmwide Management Committee and other firm committees.
In 2022, Ms. Francis was elected as a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, and she was recognized by Lawdragon as one of the 500 Leading U.S. Corporate Employment Lawyers in 2020, 2021 and 2022.