Ames Simmons

Senior Lecturing Fellow


Ames Simmons is policy director at Equality NC, where he provides vision and strategic direction for the organization’s policy and advocacy agenda with the North Carolina General Assembly and the state’s executive branch and administrative agencies. He also works with local governments on municipal policy and national policymakers on federal law and policy to drive Equality NC’s work toward health, equity and safety for all LGBTQ North Carolinians. His work is rooted in community-based efforts prioritizing anti-violence, anti-oppression and transgender justice.  

At Duke Law, Simmons teaches Re-Thinking Gender: Transgender Issues Readings Course.

For almost two decades, Simmons practiced in-house as assistant general counsel at a health care consulting company based in Atlanta. In addition to corporate law experience such as contracting with hospitals and with Medicaid managed care organizations, he also carried a substantial regulatory portfolio that included ten years administering a corporate compliance program and investigating HIPAA compliance, supervising accreditation as a certified application assister designated organization (CDO) under the Affordable Care Act, and direct representation of uninsured patients seeking eligibility through federal SSI or Medicare, or thirty-plus state Medicaid programs.

Simmons, who is transgender and queer, is a proud member and mentor in the National Trans Bar Association. He serves on the National Advisory Council of the Long-Term Care Equality Index, a joint project of Advocacy and Services for LGBT Elders and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. Simmons is licensed to practice law in North Carolina and Georgia.

He received his JD from Emory University Law School after graduating with high honors from Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA, with a BA in Political Science and Spanish.