Yashekia Simpkins counsels school districts and other public sector entities — including airports, fire protection districts and park districts — on legal compliance efforts so that her clients fulfill their public duties effectively and practically. She also represents clients in state and federal court litigation, as well as proceedings before the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, the Illinois Department of Human Rights, and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Ms. Simpkins has experience handling mortgage foreclosures and other commercial collection matters as well.

In her extensive school law practice, Ms. Simpkins handles issues related to charter school matters, labor and employment laws, school board policy and governance, and student discipline and student rights. She also helps school districts appropriately and effectively handle matters related to the provision of educational services to students covered by disability laws. This includes: assisting with representation of clients in administrative due process proceedings; determination of whether services offered or provided meet the district's obligations to provide a free appropriate public education; and eligibility-related issues. Additionally, Ms. Simpkins advises school districts and other public entities on matters related to the Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act.

Professional Background

Ms. Simpkins joined Hinshaw in August 2011. During law school she was a judicial intern in the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit District Courts of Illinois as part of the American Bar Association’s Judicial Intern Opportunity Program.

In addition to her other law school accomplishments, Ms. Simpkins was honored as a Franklin Pierce Intellectual Property Scholar, awarded to the top intellectual property students of each graduating class. Ms. Simpkins was the UNH School of Law nominee for the Jan Jancin Award presented by ABA-IPL Section, AIPLA and AIPLEF, which recognizes excellence in the study of intellectual property law. She was an Albert Schweitzer Fellow, focusing on the disproportionate impact of the Juvenile Justice system on minority students and she was President of the Black Law Students Association.

Prior to her legal career, Ms. Simpkins was a senior chemist with Cinetic Gardner Abrasives, in South Beloit, Illinois.

Professional Affiliations

  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Winnebago County Bar Association
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association


  • "Section 504 Plan Documentation: What You Need to Know," Kishwaukee IASA Division Meeting, Rockford, Illinois, October 6, 2017
  • "Special Education Laws Made Simple," National Business Institute, Naperville, Illinois, February 16, 2017 
  • "Trends in Student Rights and Discipline," IASB/IASA/IASBO Joint Annual Conference, Chicago, Illinois, November 2013
  • "Hazing: Precautions, Warnings, and Steps to Take," Promoting the Future, Remembering the Past conference, Illinois Athletic Directors Association, Peoria, Illinois, May 2013
  • "School Law Update," Kishwaukee IASA Division Meeting, Sycamore, Illinois, September 2012
  • "Merger and Dissolution Issues for Nonprofits," Northern Illinois Center for Non-Profit Excellence's "Legally Speaking" seminar, Rockford, Illinois, April 2012

Community/Civic Activities

Prairie State Legal Services, Inc. (PSLS) – President of the Board of Directors

  • PSLS has been providing free civil legal services for low-income clients for forty (40) years and serves 36 Illinois counties in Northern and Central Illinois from 12 offices. PSLS represents hundreds of clients each year in preventing domestic violence; preserving their homes; keeping custody of their children; obtaining and/or maintaining Medicaid, SSI and Social Security Disability benefits; and resolving a myriad of other problems that involve basic human needs. PSLS represents clients in court, before administrative tribunals, before school boards of education, before such agencies as local housing authorities or the Illinois Secretary of State, and in obtaining assistance through powers of attorney and guardianships.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated – Pi Gamma Omega Chapter

  • Alpha Kappa Alpha maintains its focus in two key arenas: the lifelong personal and professional development of each of its members; and galvanizing its membership into an organization, consistently at the forefront of effective advocacy and social change that results in equality and equity for all citizens of the world.

Service Areas

J.D., University of New Hampshire School of Law, 2011

  • Albert Schweitzer Fellow

B.S., Chemistry, Northern Illinois University, 2000

  • Alpha Kappa Alpha