Smith Freed Eberhard is pleased to announce two of its attorneys have been recognized in the 2021 Edition of Best Lawyers in America, the oldest and most respected peer review publication in the legal profession. Additionally, one attorney was recognized in the 2021 Edition of Best Lawyers Ones to Watch, which recognizes the most promising newer lawyers in the US who have been in practice for between five and ten years.

Best Lawyers recognizes extraordinary lawyers in the private practice through an exhaustive peer review process. The publication is respected in the community as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals anywhere. 

 To receive recognition from Best Lawyers selected lawyers first have to be nominated by their peers. Best Lawyers then determines their outstanding list of attorneys by conducting peer review surveys in which tens of thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. If the votes for a lawyer are positive enough for recognition in Best Lawyers, that lawyer must maintain those votes in subsequent polls to remain in each edition.

Best Lawyers 2021:

Jeffrey D. EberhardManaging Partner

Recognized in: Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants

Recognized by Best Lawyers since 2011

Paul E. SheelyConstruction Defect Practice Group Leader

Recognized in: Construction Law, Litigation – Construction

Recognized by Best Lawyers since 2016

Best Lawyers – Ones to Watch 2021:

Ashley NagrodskiPartner

Recognized in: Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants

Smith Freed Eberhard employees recently put together care kits to donate to Blanchet House, a nonprofit social services organization in Portland that provides food, clothing, and housing programs to people in need. The mission of Blanchet House is to offer food, shelter and aid to all those in need of a safe place to be nourished and restored and assist the transformation of each life they touch with compassion and dignity.

Our employees put together care kits which included basic supplies such as first aid supplies, personal hygiene products, and non-perishables. It was a great team bonding activity and a fun way to give back to the local community.

Thank you to Blanchet House for giving us the opportunity to contribute to your mission.

U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers®, for the 10th consecutive year, collaboratively announce the release of the “Best Law Firms” rankings. Firms included in the 2020 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” are recognized for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must first have a lawyer recognized in The Best Lawyers in America©, which recognizes the top 5% of private practicing lawyers in the United States. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.

“Choosing the right law firm can be a vital decision,” said Tim Smart, executive editor at U.S. News & World Report. “The rankings draw on U.S. News’ 35 years of experience evaluating complex institutions to help individuals and companies alike make the best decisions.”

The 2020 rankings are based on the highest number of participating firms and client votes received on record. Almost 16,000 lawyers provided more than 1,229,000 law firm assessments, and more than 12,000 clients participated providing 107,000 evaluations. “For the 2020 ‘Best Law Firms’ publication, the evaluation process has remained just as rigorous and discerning as it did when we first started ten years ago.” says Phil Greer, CEO of Best Lawyers. “This year we reviewed 14,931 law firms throughout the United States – across 75 national practice areas – and a total of 2,106 firms received a national law firm ranking. We are proud that the ‘Best Law Firms’ rankings continue to act as an indicator of excellence throughout the legal industry.”

The Best Lawyers in America (2020 Edition)
Portland, OR

Smith Freed Eberhard has been recognized as a Tier I Insurance Law Firm in the following categories:

Tier 1 in Insurance Law
Tier 1 in Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants

The following Smith Freed Eberhard attorneys have been recognized as 2020 Best Lawyers in their respective categories:

Jeffrey D. Eberhard – Managing Partner
Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants

Paul E. Sheely – Construction Defect Practice Group Leader
Construction Law

Smith Freed Eberhard has also been recognized as a Tier II Insurance Law Firm in the following categories:

Tier II – Construction Law
Tier II – Litigation – Construction

To learn more about Best Lawyers or view our attorneys’ Best Lawyers profiles, please visit

Please join us in congratulating Melanie Rose and Brian Schiewe on being named Partners at Smith Freed Eberhard! Becoming a partner at Smith Freed Eberhard means an attorney has become a leader within the industry and community and a trusted advisor to the firm’s clients. Our new partners demonstrate the exceptional talent we have at Smith Freed Eberhard and we are pleased to welcome them to the partnership!

Melanie Rose is a litigator at smith Freed Eberhard with a diverse civil litigation practice focusing on catastrophic injury, premises liability, automobile liability, dram shop, and commercial litigation.

Melanie’s practice takes her all over the state of Oregon and Washington regularly, and occasionally into Idaho as well. She has given a number of presentations on changes in Oregon and Washington law highlighting the Pacific Northwest’s unique legal landscape.

Before joining Smith Freed Eberhard, Melanie handled first-party insurance claims including claims related to PIP, UM/UIM, bad faith, and consumer protection act claims on behalf of insurance carriers. Melanie also has experience handling insurance subrogation matters. This high-volume practice placed a premium on efficiency, diligence, and energy that has carried over into her current practice.

Brian Schiewe is an experienced litigator at Smith Freed Eberhard with a diverse legal background that helps him quickly grasp what will dictate a case’s outcome. Brian’s practice focuses on commercial liability defense, automotive defense, and business litigation.

Brian joined Smith Freed Eberhard in 2015 and practices out of the firm’s Seattle office. Before joining the firm, Brian worked as an associate attorney at a boutique insurance defense firm where he defended policyholders against a wide variety of claims including personal injury, premises liability, automobile liability, earth movement, and maritime claims. Responsible for all aspects of litigation, Brian honed his litigation and resolution skills across a multitude of practice areas that serve as the foundation for his practice today.

We are honored to have Melanie and Brian as partners at Smith Freed Eberhard. Welcome to the partnership!

During these challenging times we feel it is more important than ever to continue to help each other and our community. That is why this month Smith Freed Eberhard is teaming up with local non-profits to support their causes and give back to the local community. This week we are highlighting Children’s Therapy Center. Please join us in donating to their mission to maximize the potential of children with special needs.

About Children’s Therapy Center:

Children’s Therapy Center is the largest and most comprehensive independent nonprofit pediatric therapy program in Washington State. Since 1979, they’ve provided essential services for children with special needs including physical, occupational and speech therapy; early intervention services; and parent education and support. In partnership with parents and caregivers, they celebrate where each child is today and work toward who they can become. Last year, Children’s Therapy Center served over 3,000 children in South King and Pierce counties.

Their Goal:

The goal of Children’s Therapy Center is to help every child achieve maximum independence so they can experience the same opportunities and quality of life as other children. Their approach has always been family-focused. It is ultimately through the efforts of parents and other caregivers that a child is able to reach their full potential.

Smith Freed Eberhard would not be in the position to give back to our community without your support. Thank you for your continued support, belief, and trust in our team and mission.

This month Smith Freed Eberhard is teaming up with local non-profits to support their causes and give back to the local community. The first non-profit we are highlighting is Portland Homeless Family Solutions. Please join us in donating to this organization to support their mission to provide, and even expand, critical services to families experiencing homelessness in our community.

Their Mission:

The mission of Portland Homeless Family Solutions is to empower homeless families with children to get back into housing and to stay there long-term. They envision a community where no family experiences homelessness and where every family receives the support and compassion necessary to thrive. They work in and partner with the community as a whole, including volunteers, local government, and religious congregations, to provide the highest level of service possible. 

What They Do:

Portland Homeless Family Solutions provides housing, shelter, and educational opportunities to local families in need. They help families pay rent and security deposits, assist in finding new housing, provide shelter and food, provide skills classes, and much more.

Smith Freed Eberhard would not be in the position to give back to our community without your support. Thank you for your continued support, belief, and trust in our team and mission.

Smith Freed Eberhard is pleased to congratulate Shelby Bowden, Sydney Trimble, and Gilbert Cotto-Lazo! All three recently passed the bar exam and have transitioned from Law Clerks to Associates at Smith Freed Eberhard. Please join us in welcoming them to the team!

Shelby Bowden is based in our Seattle office and will be joining Gordon Klug’s team, focusing on personal injury defense.

Shelby is currently in the process of earning her master’s degree in media communications from Colorado State University.

Sydney Trimble is based in our Portland office and will be joining Bill Taaffe’s team, focusing on commercial liability defense.

Sydney grew up in Boise, Idaho, and always wanted to eventually head towards the Pacific Northwest. In her free time, she can be found curled up with a book, exploring outside, and frequenting wineries with her husband and dog Ruby (while her two cats, Piper and Pierre, hold down the fort at home).

Gilbert Cotto-Lazo is based in our Portland office and will be joining Jeff Eberhard’s team, focusing on commercial liability defense.

Gilbert is the son of Salvadoran immigrants and was born and raised in Southern California. He is the first college graduate and attorney in the family.  Outside of work, Gilbert spends his time learning to play new styles of music on guitar, exploring the Pacific Northwest, and powerlifting.