Simone Francis provides proactive and practical advice and advocacy both during and before litigation. 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, and she has facilitated training for non-unionized employers desirous of maintaining positive employment relations and implementing lawful communication strategies. In addition, she routinely counsels businesses concerning a range of workplace issues, including evaluating and responding to requests for leave and other accommodations, managing internal investigations and disciplinary proceedings, and developing personnel policies.
Ms. Francis has managed the defense of lawsuits involving a range of federal and territorial laws, served as lead counsel in several trials, and argued numerous cases before federal and local appeals courts. She also has acted as an advocate before administrative tribunals, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Virgin Islands Department of Labor, the Civil Rights Commission, and the Public Employees Relations Board.
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 clients in complex litigation involving premises liability and products liability claims, and she has defended lawsuits relating to the management or disclosure of environmental liabilities associated with commercial activities. She also has represented clients in administrative proceedings before the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources, and she counsels clients concerning permitting and other compliance-related matters arising under environmental laws.
Ms. Francis is a frequent speaker on employment law and professional responsibility topics, and she has appeared at conferences in the Virgin Islands and 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. She also has served on the Board of Governors for the Virgin Islands Bar Association as well as on the Board of Professional Responsibility. In addition to her role as Office Managing Shareholder of the St. Thomas office, Ms. Francis currently serves on the firm’s Professional Development Steering Committee and actively participates as a member of other firm committees.