News Release

Pennsylvania Attorney Theodore "Ted" Simon Receives Prestigious 2020 Heeney Award from Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar

Washington, DC (Oct. 26, 2020) – On Saturday, October 24, Attorney Theodore "Ted" Simon of Philadelphia, PA, received the Robert C. Heeney Memorial Award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at the Association’s Fall Meeting. The prestigious Robert C. Heeney Memorial Award is given annually to the one criminal defense attorney who best exemplifies the goals and values of the Association and the legal profession.  

"For me, the award symbolizes legal excellence and the lawyer who always goes the extra mile for his clients and for other lawyers, and it is my esteemed honor and personal privilege to present the Heeney Award to my friend, Ted Simon," said NACDL Immediate Past President Nina J. Ginsberg. "One thing that makes Ted so deserving of this award is that he has always had NACDL at the forefront of his thinking and his efforts. Maybe most important for me is that Ted is a believer in being kind and generous to others. His generosity of spirit is unmatched among us and his dedication to NACDL is unparalleled."

Simon is a Past President of NACDL (2014-15), a Life Member of NACDL, has served multiple terms on the Board of Directors, and is the current NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice (NFCJ) Vice President. Outside of his numerous NACDL capacities, Simon is President of the Jenkins Law Library (America’s first law library) and is an attorney in private practice in Philadelphia, PA, where he has based a local, national and international practice for more than 40 years. He has obtained reversals in the U.S. Supreme Court and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. In addition to representing individuals and corporations in state and federal trial and appellate proceedings, Simon is a leading authority on the representation of Americans abroad and securing their outright release from custody, as well as on the application of prisoner transfer treaties here and abroad, achieving remarkable success in obtaining the transfer of foreign nationals. He has also successfully defended international extradition requests. Simon is a frequent speaker at legal seminars across the nation on a wide variety of pre-trial, trial, sentencing, and post-trial criminal law issues. As a result of his combined legal and communication skills and long-standing relationships with the media, Simon is a much sought after legal and media consultant.

"Much of today seems to be dedicated to the use of the word 'time,' and time is so important. I’ve certainly spent some time thinking about this award, but time is what we have, and it is that we have chosen to use our time to serve our clients, and to serve NACDL," said Simon. "The easiest way I’ve been thinking about this, to recognize the importance of this enormously prestigious award, is to look at all the folks who have received it before, as well as all the presidents who have bestowed that honor. I have carefully looked over that list, and I am pleased to say I knew every one of those past Heeney Award Recipients (but two) and knew and know every past president that faithfully bestowed the honor. Simply put, it is reviewing the names of the past honorees and past presidents and their accomplishments that gives both meaning to this award and the effect so many people have had on us. Finally, while each of us have provided service to NACDL, let us never forget how much NACDL, its members, and staff have provided to us. Regardless of matter, case, person, or issue: Always remember that it is a high honor, great privilege, and ultimate gift to be a criminal defense lawyer. As I have said before, we don’t represent crimes, we represent people."

Simon has been selected by his peers and included in a Philadelphia Magazine’s "Best Lawyers in Philadelphia" edition as well as having been selected a Pennsylvania "Super Lawyer." Simon is also an invited member of the "National Trial Lawyers," a national organization composed of the top 100 trial lawyers from each state. Simon’s clients have included Michael Fay (Singapore caning); Ira Einhorn (French extradition); Alain Robert (climber of skyscrapers); Don King; Tranda Wecker ("Internet birth mom"); Robert Durst; Atlanta Braves’ Chipper Jones (civil defense); NBA professional basketball player Dante Cunningham; Amanda Knox, the college student who was charged with but acquitted of the murder of her roommate in Perugia, Italy; George Martorano, freed after serving 32 years of a life without parole sentence; and acquittal of acclaimed rapper Freddie Gibbs. Most recently, Simon secured the complete exoneration and return of FedEx pilot, Lt. Col. (retired) Todd Hohn facing criminal allegations in China, and the complete dismissal of all charges against a practicing physician.

Simon previously served the Association as its President, President Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, First and Second Vice President. He has chaired four highly successful NFCJ Awards Dinners including the well-attended, highly successful, and inspirational 60th Anniversary of NACDL on April 20, 2018, in New York, and the 2014 NFCJ Awards Dinner, which was held August 1, 2014, at the National Constitution Center. Additionally, he served as a Co-Chair of NACDL’s 50th Anniversary Gala Event, was on the Steering Committee of the Capital Campaign for the NFCJ, and most recently Chaired the Sponsorship Committee for the 2020 Justice for All. Just Now. Virtual NFCJ Gala held on September 17, 2020, Constitution Day, Ted’s favorite day of the year! Among Simon’s numerous other leadership roles at NACDL are his tenure as Co-Chair of NACDL’s International Affairs Committee, his service on the NACDL Budget Committee, his authorship of the “Tips and Tactics” column for The Champion, and his instrumental roles on a broad range of NACDL task forces over the years. 

Simon is a 1971 graduate of American University and a 1974 graduate of Temple University Law School.

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Kate Holden, NACDL Public Affairs and Communications Assistant, (202) 465-7624 or

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.