Steven J. Simerlein

Steven J. Simerlein

Nashville, Tennessee

Attorney Steven Simerlein, known to many of his Latino clients as “Abogado Esteban,” has a breadth of professional experience that few other lawyers can offer their clients.  Drawing upon a foundation of over 30 years of experience in the law, business and military, Mr. Simerlein offers compassionate, insightful counseling and vigorous, ethical advocacy for his clients.  His practice focuses on immigration law, and he also assists his clients with certain criminal and family law matters.

Mr. Simerlein began his professional life by earning a B.A. in Political Science from Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1983.  At Tulane, he was a member of the Navy ROTC and participated in an exchange program between the U.S. Navy and Mexican Navy, where he became fluent in the Spanish language.  After his graduation, Mr. Simerlein began a five-year stint in the U.S. Navy.  He first served as the Main Propulsion Assistant on the USS Dubuque (LPD-8), an amphibious transport dock for the U.S. Marines.  While onboard, he lived for about a year in Sasebo, Japan and was designated as a Pacific Fleet Shiphandler of the Year for his ship type.  In 1986, he was assigned as the Combat Systems Officer on the Navy hydrofoil USS Aquila (PHM-4) and participated in drug smuggling interdiction and other special operations in the Caribbean basin.

Following his honorable discharge from the Navy, Mr. Simerlein attended Loyola of Los Angeles Law School, earning his J.D. in 1991.  While in law school, he served as the Senior Note and Comment Editor for the International Law Journal and authored the note, “Rafeedie v. Immigration and Naturalization Service: Summary Exclusion and the Procedural Due Process Rights of Permanent Resident Aliens,” available at

In his first year as an attorney in San Diego, California, Mr. Simerlein practiced bankruptcy and public entity law.  In his second year, he joined the San Diego office of Weissburg & Aronson, Inc., where he focused his practice on the representation of public agencies and public & private health care entities.  In his early years, Mr. Simerlein spent significant time as counsel to public boards and staff relative to service contracts, real estate acquisitions, eminent domain disputes, redevelopment, California Environmental Quality Act, insurance and self-insurance, conflict of interest, public records, open meetings, water and environmental laws.  He also later defended the firm’s health care provider clients in regulatory enforcement proceedings by the state and federal government.

In 1996, Weissburg & Aronson, Inc. merged with the national law firm of Foley Lardner LLP.  Mr. Simerlein, who became a partner in that firm in 2000, focused his practice as a litigator in administrative, state and federal court forums.  His clients included public self-insurance pools, school, fire, and health care districts, skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, physician groups, restaurants and small businesses.  He developed significant expertise in the areas of insurance and self-insurance pools, public contracts, bidding disputes, mechanic’s liens and stop notices, construction claims and disputes, regulatory and enforcement proceedings against health care clients, wrongful termination and sexual harassment.

In 2006, Mr. Simerlein joined the San Diego law firm of Robbins, Umeda & Fink, where he litigated class actions, shareholder derivative lawsuits, insurance disputes and related matters.  He accepted an offer in 2008 from Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, PLLC to relocate to Nashville and practice in the area of consumer class actions and antitrust law.  He became a partner in that firm in 2010.

In January 2012, Mr. Simerlein opened his own practice in Nashville.  Focusing on all facets of immigration law, he uses his fluency in the Spanish language to directly communicate with his Latino clients if they are cannot speak English or simply feel more comfortable in their native language.  Mr. Simerlein has extensively traveled in Spain, Mexico and other Latin countries, and his unique experiences in many cultures enables him to quickly understand his client’s needs and develop a uniquely effective rapport with them.

In his free time, Mr. Simerlein enjoys travel, biking, hiking and other outdoor activities.

Areas of Practice

  • Immigration Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Family Law
  • Business Law
  • Contracts
  • Real Estate
  • Powers of Attorney

Litigation Percentage

  • 35% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • California, 1991
  • Tennessee, 2009
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 2010
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California, 1991
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California, 1992
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California, 1999
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California, 2006
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Tennessee, 2009


  • Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, California
    • J.D. - 1991
  • Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
    • B.A. - 1983
    • Major: Political Science

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Nashville, Tennessee and American Bar Associations
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association