With more than two decades of legal experience, Joe specializes in complex business disputes, commercial litigation, and alternative dispute resolution. He represents public and private companies and individuals in the financial services, banking, brokerage, insurance, real estate, manufacturing, and construction industries in a wide array of cases involving breach of contract and fraud claims, issues relating to claims of unfair competition and trade secrets violations, and general tort litigation. Joe's primary focus is complex securities litigation and arbitration, financial institution litigation, regulatory investigations and inquiries, and broker-dealer liability defense, in which he represents brokers, broker-dealers, investment advisors, banks, and insurance companies in claims involving allegations of professional misconduct. His background in business litigation and representing financial services providers also translates well into his experience in matters of estate and trust litigation.

An accomplished litigator and counselor, Joe has been named to the Ohio Super Lawyers list, a designation reserved for only 5% of Ohio lawyers, and has achieved Martindale-Hubbell's highest ranking, AV Preeminent®. According to feedback obtained during the rating process, Joe was described as an attorney who “excels at determining a strategy that is cost-effective for the client and then expertly executing that strategy through top-notch work product and advocacy,” and was recognized as an “excellent lawyer with a wide range of experience and knowledge,” who is “among the top defense counsel in the broker-dealer bar.”

Joe also writes and speaks frequently throughout Ohio and nationwide on topics of interest to litigators and financial services professionals, and has been been an active member of the Defense Research Institute (DRI), Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys (OACTA) and Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA). He also has served as the co-chair of the Securities Arbitration Subcommittee of the American Bar Association’s Litigation Section and a member of its Roundtable Committee and is presently the Chair of ABA Securities Litigation Committee, the Chair of the Litigation Section of the Ohio State Bar Association, and as a member of the Judicial Selection Committee of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, and on the Board of Directors of LifeAct of Northeast Ohio.

Honors & Recognitions

Rated AV® Preeminent™: Very Highly Rated in Both Legal Ability and Ethical Standards by Martindale Hubbell Peer Review

Recognized as a Super Lawyer by Ohio Super Lawyers Magazine since 2015

Joseph S. Simms
Rated by Super Lawyers

loading ...

Community & Professional


American Bar Association
-Litigation Section – member, Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, Securities Litigation Committee, and co-chair, Securities Arbitration Subcommittee, member, Roundtable Committee
Co-Chair of the ABA Litigation Section’s Securities Litigation Committee for the 2020-2021 bar year

Ohio State Bar Association
-Litigation Section Council; Chair, and Past Vice Chair and Secretary and Treasurer, Litigation Section

Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
-Litigation Section; ADR Section; Securities Section; Judicial Selection Committee, CMBA Leadership Academy 2018; Trial Counsel, 1999-2000; Certified Grievance Committee, 2000-2003

Independent Broker Dealer Consortium
-Member, IBDC Alliance

Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys
-Alternative Dispute Resolution and Business & Commercial Litigation Committees

Defense Research Institute
-Alternate Dispute Resolution and Commercial Litigation Committees

Guardian ad Litem for Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court
-Domestic Relations and Juvenile Divisions (1996-2009)

Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA)
-Member, Compliance & Legal Division

Arbitrator, FINRA


-Board of Directors, Governance and Advocacy Committees

The Leprechaun Foundation
-Prior General Counsel, Treasurer, Executive Board Member

The Ohio Center for Law Related Education's High School Mock Trial Competition
-Volunteer Judge

Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s Cleveland High School Mock Trial Competition
-Attorney Advisor

SIFMA Foundation, InvestWrite Student Essay Competition
-Volunteer Judge

The Cuyahoga County Guardian ad Litem Project
-Member 2008-2009, Advisory Board; Communications and Volunteer/Grant Committees

The Rolling Brooke Homeowners Association
-Member 2005-2007, Social Committee


Speaking Engagements

  • Columbus, OH, Feb 28, 2020
  • 2020 Third Annual Current Issues in FINRA Arbitration and Enforcement Regional CLE
    Fort Lauderdale, FL, Feb 20, 2020
  • Updates and Trends in Accounting Malpractice, Securities Litigation and Banking Disputes
    Webinar, Jan 21, 2020
  • Compliance and Regulatory Issues Confronted by Securities Compliance Professionals and In-House Counsel
    Columbus, OH, Oct 25, 2019
  • The Ins and Outs of Investigations and Inquiries – What to Do and How to Do It
    Tampa, FL, Feb 22, 2019
  • ABC’s of ADR: Best Practices Guide for Litigators & Neutrals
    Cleveland, OH, Oct 2018
  • Current Issues in FINRA Arbitration and Enforcement – FINRA Arbitration 2018: Tips, Tricks and Considerations
    Tampa, FL, Feb 2018
  • Everything You Wanted to Know About The Law But Were Afraid To Ask
    Oct 2017
  • Ethical, Practical, and Legal Considerations for Litigating Against Pro Se Parties in Securities Arbitrations
    Sep 2017
  • Discovery in Arbitration: Proportionality and Other Issues Arising in the ‘More Efficient’ Forum
    Feb 2017
  • Effectively Counseling Your Clients on Data Preservation, How to Enhance Your Law Practice
    Dec 2016
  • Arbitration and Compliance Updates
    Oct 2016
  • Preparing For Trial, Litigation Skills Seminar
    Sep 2016
  • Best Practices for Mediating Business and Corporate Disputes
    Apr 2016
  • Arbitrating FINRA Product Cases
    May 2015
  • Current Issues in Securities Litigation - When Are Private Placements Public
    Feb 2015
  • FINRA Expungement Roundtable
    Oct 2014
  • Restrictive Covenants in the Digital Age and the Future of the Inevitable Disclosure Doctrine
    Aug 2014
  • An Update on FINRA Expungement: Perspectives from the Claimants’ and Respondents’ Bars
    Webinar, May 2014
  • Current Arbitration and Licensing Issues
    Oct 2009



Blog Posts


J.D., Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, 1996

B.A., The Ohio State University, 1993


  • State of Ohio, 1996
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, 2000
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, 1998
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio, 2003
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas, 2012
Jump to Page

By using this site, you agree to our updated Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use