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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 was a practicing trust and estates lawyer. Prior to his legal career, he was a public school teacher.

Simmons teaches courses in estates, equity, and legal ethics. Although his scholarship ranges from zombie law to Martian law, it focuses primarily on estate planning, the federal estate and gift tax, and trusts.  He is actively involved in trust law reform and a is fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), the American College of Tax Counsel (ACTC), and the American Bar Foundation. He serves on the Governor's Trust Task Force for Trust Administration and the South Dakota Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.


August 2013 - Present Associate Professor, University of South Dakota Knudson 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 (46)