LEWISTON — One of the city’s best known trial lawyers was honored Thursday for his decades of work in the defense of civil rights and liberties.

Jack Simmons of the Lisbon Street law firm Berman & Simmons received the Justice Louis Scolnik Award from the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine.

“In a legal career spanning 50 years, Jack has distinguished himself as a passionate advocate for the rights of the accused, fighting for Miranda rights, the presumption of innocence and equal protection under the law,” the Portland-based group said in a statement. “Beyond the courtroom, Jack is a respected and persuasive advocate for civil liberties, often using his legal knowledge to stand up for privacy, LGBT rights and criminal justice reform.”

The award has been presented since 1989 to individuals who demonstrate an outstanding commitment to defending and advancing civil liberties and civil rights.

Leaders of ACLU of Maine presented Simmons with the award at a dinner Thursday night at the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport. His family, friends and dozens of colleagues in the legal community attended.

Simmons joined Benjamin Berman’s law firm in Lewiston in 1964 after graduating from Boston University Law School. Simmons built a thriving practice in both criminal and civil law.

Berman & Simmons, a 16-attorney firm with offices in Portland, Lewiston and Bangor, became a statewide leader in the legal areas of personal injury, medical malpractice and product liability. The firm has been listed under all litigation headings in Best Lawyers in America since its first publication.

Although he no longer actively tries cases, Simmons remains “of counsel” with the firm. He also has offered his skills and expertise to a variety of community service organizations. He has served in leadership positions on numerous boards and committees related to the oversight of Maine’s legal system.

In addition to his public service, Simmons has published numerous articles about various aspects of trial law. He is lead author of the definitive text on the law relevant to recovery for civil wrongs, Maine Tort Law.

He and his wife, Margo, live in Falmouth.

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