Professor Simkins, is the Director and Co-founder of the Children’s Justice Clinic at Rutgers School of Law. She was the Due Process Monitor for the settlement agreement between the Department of Justice and the Juvenile court of Shelby County, Tennessee (2012-2018). In 2012 she received the Robert E. Shepard Jr. award for excellence in Juvenile Defense. Her book, When Kids Get Arrested, What Every Adult Should Know, was released in 2009. In 2008 she was selected by the MacArthur Foundation in to participate in the Models for Change (JIDAN). Areas of expertize include post disposition representation, conditions of confinement and solitary.
Prior to joining the Rutgers faculty in 2006, she spent 15 years working in criminal and juvenile defense. She served as assistant chief of the Juvenile Unit at the Defender Association of Philadelphia, supervising and training a staff of 40, including 23 lawyers, to represent children in the juvenile justice system. Professor Simkins also was involved in wide range of national and statewide policy reform for children.
In 2016, 2015 and 2009, she was selected as "Lawyering Professor of the Year" and in 2007 she received the "New Professor of the Year" award, both at the Rutgers School of Law–Camden. In 2008, she was selected by the MacArthur Foundation to participate in the Models for Change Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network.
She served as co-director of the Northeast Region Juvenile Defender Center from 2006-2017, a subsidiary of the National Juvenile Defender Center, where she provides consultation and training to child advocates in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. She has championed the creation of effective statewide coalitions and led fundraising initiatives for program development. Her various fundraising efforts have created a specialized mental health and special education attorney, and a statewide training program for juvenile defenders in the state of Pennsylvania.
She was selected by Harvard Business School's Social Enterprise Philadelphia Club in 2005 to participate in advanced non-profit management training. In 2004, she was chosen by the MacArthur Foundation to partner with the Foundation's Juvenile Justice Aftercare Initiative in Pennsylvania, and was being recognized in The Philadelphia Lawyer for providing strong advocacy for children at each stage of juvenile court involvement. In 2002, she was the recipient of the American Bar Association's Award for Outstanding Representation of Children. Professor Simkins has taught the Criminal Defense Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Juvenile Law at the Temple University Beasley School of Law.