School of Law

You are here:

Tom Simmons

Tom Simmons
Assistant Professor
Law, Law School
ULS School of Law 212
Phone: 605-677-3960
Tom is a lifelong South Dakotan. He joined the faculty of the USD School of Law in 2013 following thirteen years in private practice with the Rapid City law firm of Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson & Ashmore, LLP and two years clerking for the Honorable Andrew W. Bogue, senior federal district court judge. Tom is a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estates Counsel (ACTEC). He founded and chairs the Elder Law Committee of the South Dakota State Bar. He also chairs the Trust Committee of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Section of the South Dakota Bar and is a member of its Digital Assets Committee. He is a member of the South Dakota Governor's Task Force on Trust Administration Review and Reform. He is a member of NAELA (the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys) and serves as co-executive editor of the NAELA Journal. Tom created the first qualifying pooled trust for individuals with disabilities in South Dakota and continues to serve as President of PATI (Pooled Advocate Trust Inc.). He has served on the boards of directors of the Alzheimer's Association-South Dakota, the Black Hills Area Habitat for Humanity, the United Way of the Black Hills and the Dakotas United Methodist Foundation as well as serving as President of the Friends of the Rapid City Public Library and the Rapid City Arts Foundation.
Teaching Interests:
Trusts and Wills, Estate Planning, Elder Law, Property II, Business Organizations I.
Research Interests:
Spendthrift Trusts and Asset Protection; Elder Law; Rights of Individuals with Disabilities; Guardianships; Probate; Federal Estate and Gift Tax; Trusts; Property; Future Interests; Probate; Medicaid; Legal History; Law and Literature; Comparative Law; Popular Culture; Legal Ethics.
  • JD, Law, University of South Dakota School of Law, 1998
  • BS, Education and English, University of South Dakota, 1991
  • Simmons, T. E., Testamentary Capacity, Undue Influence and Insane Delusions (forthcoming), South Dakota Law Review, vol. 60.
  • Simmons, T. E., Medicaid as Coverture (forthcoming), Hastings Women's Law Journal, vol. 26.
  • Simmons, T. E., (2014), The 'Evil Child' in Literature, Film and Popular Culture, Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 47, p. 899.
  • Simmons, T. E., What Zombies Can Teach Law Students: Popular Text Inclusion in Law and Literature (forthcoming), Mercer Law Review, vol. 66.
  • Simmons, T. E., (2013), Understanding the Challenges and Limitations of Guardianship Proceedings, Thompson Reuters/Aspatore, pp. 105-124.
  • Simmons, T. E., (2013), Judicial Memoirs, The Nebraska Lawyer, vol. 16, iss. 1.
  • Simmons, T. E., (2012), Pooled Trusts, South Dakota Report, vol. 27, iss. 3.
  • Simmons, T. E., (2012), "Court Columns" (a monthly newspaper column), Rapid City Journal and Yankton Press and Dakotan.
  • Simmons, T. E., (2010), Integrating SNTs with IRAs, NAELA Special Needs Law Section Newsletter, vol. 8.
  • Simmons, T. E., (2010), Decanting and its Alternatives: Remodeling and Revamping Irrevocable Trusts, South Dakota Law Review, vol. 55, iss. 2, p. 253.
  • Simmons, T. E., (2005), Using Trusts to Settle Lawsuits, Probate and Property, vol. 19, p. 6.
  • Simmons, T. E., (2005), When Gift Planning Goes Awry, National Law Journal, vol. 27, p. 23.
  • Simmons, T. E., (2002), A Guide to South Dakota's Disability Discrimination Laws: Limits and Vantages, South Dakota Law Review, vol. 47, p. 389.
  • Simmons, T. E., (2001), Territorial Justice Under Fire: The Trials of Peter Wintermute, 1873-1875, South Dakota History, vol. 31, p. 91.
  • Simmons, T. E., (2000), 'Working' with the ADA's 'Regarded As' Definition of a Disability, Texas Forum on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights, vol. 5, p. 27.
  • Simmons, T. E., (2000), How Medication Affects the Existence of an ADA Disability, South Dakota Report, vol. 16, p. 6.
  • Simmons, T. E., (1999), State Immunity from Federal Disability Discrimination Laws: Provisions of the ADA and Rehabilitation Act Declared Unconstitutional, South Dakota Report, vol. 15, p. 8.
  • Simmons, T. E., (1999), The ADA Prima Facie Plaintiff: A Critical Overview of Eighth Circuit Case Law, Drake Law Review, vol. 47, p. 761.
  • Simmons, T. E., (1997), Comment, Highways, Hunters and Section Lines: Tension Between Public Access and Private Rights, Great Plains Natural Resources Journal, vol. 2, p. 240.
  • Simmons, T. E., (1997), Note, Twisted Interests: People in Interest of S.A.H. and the State of Open Adoptions in South Dakota, South Dakota Law Review, vol. 47, p. 537.
Awards and Honors:
  • Inclusion in Best Lawyers in U.S. in area of Trusts and Estates, Best Lawyers, 2014
  • AV Rating, Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register Peer Review Rating, 2013
  • Simmons, T. E. (2014, July). Cutting Edge and Bleeding Edge Medicaid Planning. Presented at the West River Estate and Financial Planning Council, Rapid City, SD.
  • Simmons, T. E. (2014, January). In Defense of South Dakota Asset Protection Trusts. Presented at the Siouxland Estate Planning Council, Sioux City, Nebraska.
  • Simmons, T. E. (2013, December). How the Crummey Crumbles: Present Interest Gift Planning with Trusts. Presented at the Tax Update XXXV CLE, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
  • Simmons, T. E. (2013, October). Business Trusts, S-Corp Trusts, Pre-Mortem Planning and Other Recent Developments in the Law of Trusts. Presented at the Business Law CLE, Rapid City, South Dakota.
  • Simmons, T. E. (2012, December). Grantor Trusts. Presented at the Tax Update XXXIV CLE, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
  • Simmons, T. E. (2012, July). Estate Planning for Individuals with Disabilities. Presented at the Trusts 101, Rapid City, South Dakota.
  • Simmons, T. E. (2012, April). Substituted Judgment: Powers of Attorney, Guardianships, and Conservator-Created Estate Plans. Presented at the Sioux Falls Estate Planning Council, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
  • Simmons, T. E. (2012, February). Closing the Estate. Presented at the The Probate Process Start to Finish, Rapid City, South Dakota.
  • Simmons, T. E. (2011, September). (Program Chair). Presented at the Elder Law: Representing the Aging Client CLE, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
  • Simmons, T. E. (2010, May). Pooled Trusts: An Introduction and Personal History. Presented at the NAELA Special Needs Summit, New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Simmons, T. E. (2009, June). Decanting a Vintage Trust: Prepare the Funnel and Cheesecloth. Presented at the Seventh Annual Estate Planning for Professionals Seminar, South Sioux City, Nebraska.
  • Simmons, T. E. (2006, September). Domestic Asset Protection Trusts and South Dakota Trust Updates. Presented at the West River Estate Planning Council, Rapid City, South Dakota.
  • Simmons, T. E. (2006, August). South Dakota UTC Project Update. Presented at the South Dakota Uniform Trust Code CLE, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
  • Simmons, T. E. (2005, May). Developing Communication Skills and Relationships with Diverse Clients. Presented at the NAELA Annual Symposium, San Francisco, California.
  • Simmons, T. E. (2004, December). (Program Chair). Presented at the Tax Update XXVI CLE, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
  • Simmons, T. E. (2003, July). Real Property Taxation: Who and What is Taxed?. Presented at the Real Property Taxation, Rapid City, South Dakota.
  • Simmons, T. E. (2003, July). Disability Discrimination: Federal and State Laws Compared. Presented at the Rights of Individuals with Disabilities, Rapid City, South Dakota.