Alumni Short

Joel Simon

Joel Simon JD ’85

Joel Simon
joined Paul Hastings as a lateral partner from Dorsey & Whitney in 1995-preceded by 8½ years at Cahill Gordon & Reindel-and is currently vice-chair of the Paris office. Previously, he was based in London and ran the London office for seven years. Mr. Simon has clients on three continents (North America, Europe, and Africa) and handles acquisitions, debt and equity financings, joint venture transactions, and a great variety of other transactional matters. His clients include Citigroup, Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund, Yamaha Corporation, Belvedere SA, and Spazio Investment. A more detailed account of Mr. Simon's professional activity appears at

More than two decades of professional experience have confirmed Mr. Simon's belief that effective representation depends on the attorney’s staying proactive and focused. "Our business has changed during the last 18 months and it is an ongoing challenge to navigate those changes and ensure that I remain busy and relevant in a new economic environment." The new economy has affected the internal business of law firms, as well. "As the financial pressures have changed and law firms have become much more business - and money - oriented, some of the factors that used to put partners into business together-friendship, loyalty-have diminished in importance," he says. "This is a difficult thing to battle against or to adjust to."

Happily, the satisfaction Mr. Simon finds in his practice has remained constant. He is especially pleased when his work helps people, rather than just institutions; such is the case when he represents small or family-owned businesses, or individuals working for larger companies who have a sincere personal interest in and enthusiasm for their projects. The intellectual challenge of corporate practice also holds special appeal. "I enjoy taking a very complex organizational and capital structure with multiple tranches of financing, and solving intricate problems that impact across the different levels of those structures, as well as across the different debt instruments and other contracts," he says. "These problems are akin to very challenging jigsaw puzzles and I really get a kick out of figuring them out and bringing a solution to the client who thought it was an 'insurmountable' problem."

Mr. Simon's law practice also allows expression of his "inner teacher," for he mentors young associates as they navigate the learning curve of their new profession. "Training younger lawyers is one of the aspects of my work that I enjoy most," he says. "It's rewarding to see the light go on when they master a task or issue that was once a major obstacle for them. At heart, I have always wanted to be a teacher. I guess this is my way to fulfill that dream."

~contributed by John A. Lauricella
  Special to Cornell Law School