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About Thomas E. Simmons

Before joining the academy in 2013, Professor Simmons was a partner with the Rapid City Law firm of Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson & Ashmore, LLP, where he worked as a trust and estates lawyer. His law practice includes wills, trusts, durable powers of attorney, pre-nuptial agreements and estate-planning & administration. He has been very active in various capacities with the State Bar of South Dakota. Simmons earned a J.D. degree at USD School of Law. Prior to his legal career, he was a public school teacher.

Simmons teaches courses in estates, estate tax, property, and legal ethics.  His scholarship ranges from zombie law to Martian law, but focuses on federal estate and gift tax questions, elder law, and trusts.  He is actively involved in trust law reform.


August 2013 - Present Associate Professor, University of South Dakota School of Law School of Law

Curriculum Vitae

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Honors and Awards

  • Fellow, ACTEC
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation


  • Professional Responsibility
  • Estate Planning
  • Property
  • Trusts & Wills


1995 - 1998 J.D., University of South Dakota ‐ Law
1988 - 1991 B.S., University of South Dakota ‐ School of Education

Contact Information

University of South Dakota School of Law 212
414 East Clark Street
Vermillion,South Dakota 57069

(605) 677.3960


Articles (39)