Kelley Brooks Simoneaux

Kelley Brooks Simoneaux

Alpha Omega, Birmingham-Southern College

 

After a car wreck at age 16 left her with a spinal cord injury due to a seat belt defect, Kelly Brooks Simoneaux could have given up. But her accident and the resulting waist-down paralysis became her motivator to make a career out of helping others with similar injuries. She now works as an attorney for those who have been catastrophically injured due to others’ negligence. In fact, one trial case she worked on led to policy change for vehicle manufacturers in regard to seat belt design and construction, bringing her life and career full circle.

“Not only does this work allow me to seek justice for individuals, it also provides a real outlet to push for safety changes and advocacy for those living with spinal cord injuries,” Simoneaux explains.

She points to her Alpha Chi Omega sisters as “nothing short of instrumental” to her success in life and law. From the very start of her membership to her decision to go to law school and into her career and advocacy work, the support from her sisters has been central to Simoneaux’s journey.

“They did not see my disability, or the fact that I used a wheelchair,” she explains. “I was a sister, just the same.”

This hasn’t always been the case for Simoneaux. She explains that she works daily in a world of mostly able-bodied, male peers. Throughout her career as a trial lawyer, she has faced the doubters head-on. At one of her first trials, a judge requested she stand out of respect – as is customary in court – and she had to explain she was not physically able to do so!

Beyond the courtroom, Simoneaux is using her professional and personal experiences to advocate for change. She volunteers with the United Spinal Association and participated in the Roll on Capitol Hill to address members of Congress about important issues affecting those with similar injuries. She has also raised funds for and mentored patients at Shepherd Center, where she received treatment after her own accident.

Simoneaux continues to use her story to make change.

“Each day I enter a courtroom, roll into a conference room or take a position stance in the state and federal legislature, I am able to put more visibility for those living with a disability,” she explains. “The more visible we are, the more change we can seek.”

 


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