Hon. Sarah "Sally" Simmons

News from the Arizona Supreme Court:


Thursday, February 24, 2011 – The Arizona Supreme Court has appointed the Honorable Sarah R. (“Sally”) Simmons as the new Presiding Judge in Pima County.  She will replace Judge Jan Kearny, who will leave the post as presiding judge on May 13, 2011.

Judge Simmons is currently presiding judge of the Pima County Juvenile Court and served as presiding judge of the Family Law bench in Pima County from January 2007-March 2009.  She is also chair of the Supreme Court’s Committee on Juvenile Courts, is a member of the Arizona Commission on Judicial Performance Review and has served on the Domestic Relations Committee and the Child Support Guidelines Review Committee. 

She currently is a member of the Children’s Action Alliance Juvenile Justice Committee and is co-lead judge for the Pima County Juvenile Court Model Court Work Group and the Pima County Juvenile Court Juvenile Justice Executive Board.

Judge Simmons was raised in Miami, Arizona and graduated from the University of Arizona with high honors in 1970 with a degree in history.  She attended the University of Arizona College of Law for two years and then transferred to the University of Denver, where she received her J.D. with high honors in 1973.

Judge Simmons practiced in Denver for a short time before coming to Tucson to work at the law firm of Molloy, Jones and Donahue, P.C.  She worked at that firm as an associate from 1974-1977 and as a shareholder from 1978-1992.  She was employed at the law firm of Brown & Bain, P.A. from 1993-94 and was a shareholder in that firm from 1994-2002.  In 2002, Judge Simmons became a partner at the law firm of Lewis and Roca LLP, and she served in that capacity until her appointment to the bench in January 2006. 

Judge Simmons has been active in both bar association and community activities.  She was president of the State Bar of Arizona in 1993-94, having served as a member of the Board of Governors from 1987-95.  She was a member of the Pima County Bar Association Board of Directors from 1985-95.  Judge Simmons was the first chair of the State Bar of Arizona’s Committee on Persons with Disabilities in the Legal Profession, serving in that capacity from 2000-2005. 

Sally Simmons as a panelist at the State Bar Convention's Ethics Game Show, June 2010

In the Tucson community, Judge Simmons currently serves as an emeritus member of the DM-50 Board of Directors.  She is a member of the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law’s Law College Association Board of Directors and Board of Visitors, having been president of the former and co-chair of the latter.  She has also been president of the Tohono Chul Park Board of Directors, the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau, a member of the Tucson Airport Authority and its Board of Directors, and has served on numerous other charitable or civic boards, including the Arizona Town Hall and the United Way.

Judge Simmons was the Tucson Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year in 1994, and she was a recipient of the YWCA Women on the Move Award in 1995.  She received the Women’s Studies Advisory Council Women Who Lead Award in 2003, the Southern Arizona chapter of the Arizona Women Lawyers Alice Truman Award in 2003 and an Inside Tucson Business Woman of Influence designation in 2005.  Judge Simmons was named one of the 100 Minorities and Women in the Law by the State Bar of Arizona/Maricopa County Bar in 2001, was the co-member of the year for the State Bar in 2004, and was named one of the top 50 pro bono attorneys in Arizona by the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education in 2004.

For information about the Arizona Judicial Branch, visit here. For information about the Pima County Superior Court, visit here.