Mary Ellen Simonson

Partner at Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP

Mary Ellen Simonson has established a successful employment and education practice, as a counselor and litigation defense attorney. She has 33 years of experience in representing and advising a wide variety of public and private sector employers, in all aspects of employment relations, litigation, counseling, governance, Open Meetings and Public Records. Her practice ranges from advising public and private sector employers, including governing boards of educational institutions, on governance issues, high-stakes educational matters, implementing best practices, litigation avoidance strategies, day-to-day issues in the workplace, to advocacy in federal and state courts, administrative agencies, and before the EEOC, ACRD, DOL, and other public entities, and arbitrators. Mary Ellen routinely handles a wide variety of counseling, governance and litigation matters, including employee discipline and terminations; drafting and negotiating Chancellor and Superintendent employment contracts; whistleblower complaints; defending/enforcing confidentiality, non-solicitation and non-competition agreements; trade secret disputes; workforce reductions; Title VII discrimination, retaliation and sexual harassment issues; ADA, ADEA, FMLA, WARN Act, and FLSA issues; internal investigations; executive employment agreements; severance agreements; wrongful termination; and advice to employers on compliance with federal, state and local employment and school laws. She represents education clients in Arizona and other clients across the United States, including serving as outside general employment counsel for a multimillion-dollar company, and represents a variety of industries including manufacturing, equipment rental, financial, mortgage, health care, and the arts.

Mary Ellen has successfully briefed and argued appeals before the Ninth Circuit and Arizona Court of Appeals, and successfully briefed and argued before the Arizona Supreme Court an issue of statewide importance to all public employers. She also has substantial experience in school law, including representation of Arizona’s largest secondary schools and one of the nation’s largest community college districts. Mary Ellen routinely takes a proactive approach to counseling employers about ways to avoid costly litigation, manage employee performance, and make practical, sound human resource decisions to help avoid or minimize wrongful termination, discrimination, disability, and other avoidable claims.



  • Partner

    Current role