Melissa K. Sims
As Senior Counsel at Milberg, Melissa Sims maintains her own practice in Illinois with offices in Chicago and downstate. She represents communities nationally, helping them seek redress for public nuisance, using her vast experience as a municipal trial lawyer.
Ms. Sims was born and raised in a small town in North Central Illinois. After graduating from college at Illinois State University and while attending law school, she worked as a part time employee at the Bureau County Sheriff’s Department and as a legal advocate for the local domestic violence sexual assault shelter, Freedom House. She received an appointment from the Illinois Supreme Court and volunteered license to practice law while in law school, prosecuting traffics and misdemeanor cases to gain experience in the courtroom.
After graduating from Northern Illinois University College of Law in DeKalb, Ms. Sims joined the Wimbiscus Law Firm in Spring Valley, Illinois. There, she represented units of local government including sheriffs, counties, cities, villages, school districts, zoning boards, and townships.
Ms. Sims has been engaged in the general practice of law for more than twenty years. Her representation of clients has encompassed every possible facet of law: banking, hospitals, corporate, not-for-profit, tax, divorce, child support, probate/estate, trust, real estate, probate, civil rights, patent infringement, criminal, and municipal law. She has drafted municipal legislation and has represented units of local government in trial, appellate, and federal courts. She once argued a precedent setting probate case before the Illinois Supreme Court.
Ms. Sims prosecuted hundreds of municipal ordinance violations for the towns she represented. The late William J. Wimbiscus, Jr., began practicing municipal law in 1950; Ms. Sims learned from his vast experience in her municipal practice. As a tenacious municipal prosecutor, Ms. Sims utilized a local ordinance against Exxon, CBS and Viacom for a Superfund site for one of her municipal clients. In that case, she set national precedent before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on whether a non-home rule unit of local government could exercise its nuisance powers during the course of a Superfund cleanup. Following this case, Ms. Sims represented the Village of Roxana, Illinois, against Shell and Conoco Phillips using her DePue precedent and fined the polluters for every lot, street, and alley which contained benzene from the refinery. Both cases settled.
Ms. Sims has served for ten years on the board of directors of Freedom House, also having been its President. She volunteers for local not-for-profits and religious organizations. She also serves as a director on the board of a local bank.
She is licensed in Illinois.