Specializing in the defense of large loss and catastrophic injury claims, Managing Partner Bill Taaffe regularly defends claims based on premises liability, products liability, liquor liability (Dram Shop), defamation, commercial auto liability, and general negligence. If it is a large, complex case, it often ends up on Bill’s desk.
In addition to his expertise in the Commercial Lines realm, Bill has considerable international business experience–having worked in several different countries over a period of many years. His international background has provided him with the ability to masterfully view case handling situations through multiple perspectives and continues to help him find creative solutions to complex legal matters.
Bill has extensive experience defending large, complex GL claims ranging up to 28 million dollars. He has successfully represented clients from all over the US and abroad and, in the last 5 years, Bill has successfully defended many complicated matters involving products liability, fire loss, premises liability, and Dram Shop. He regularly obtains excellent results for his clients–often far beyond expectations.
In sports parlance—Bill has a “strong motor”—always ready to jump on a plane to meet with out-of-state clients, work long hours, and do whatever is necessary to fully defend a claim and take care of his clients.
With a career spanning over 30 years, successfully representing a wide range of clients in complex and high profile cases, Founding Partner Jeff Eberhard is a recognizable and reputable force within the industry.
Jeff’s practice focuses on civil litigation throughout Oregon and Washington with an emphasis on the defense of complex liability claims, most notably, in dram shop/liquor liability. By successfully defending hundreds of cases, Jeff’s expert knowledge of Oregon’s Dram Shop Act, and how to defend against it, is unparalleled.
Kyle Riley manages the firm’s Seattle, Washington, office. He has profound expertise in Washington bad faith law, wrongful death, and catastrophic injury claims. Kyle also has significant experience defending fire losses, trucking companies, banking institutions, and self-insured rental car companies.
Prior to joining Smith Freed Eberhard, Kyle worked with the Oregon Department of Justice where he gained significant litigation experience specializing in the recovery of self-insured losses. He joined Smith Freed Eberhard in 2003.
Josh’s practice focuses on the defense of cases involving personal injury and wrongful death. He represents companies and the insureds of several large insurance carriers against claims arising from the alleged negligent use of motor vehicles, products liability, and premises liability.
Josh started as an associate at Smith Freed Eberhard in 2001. He has been a partner since 2008. Josh leads a group of attorneys that specialize in trying cases and effective pre-trial litigation. Josh typically tries several cases a year to jury verdict.
Prior to joining Smith Freed Eberhard, Josh gained experience in civil litigation, criminal defense, and family law while clerking at a firm in Salem, Oregon. While attending law school, he spent time in London, UK, where he served as a solicitor’s clerk for a high-profile firm advocating on behalf of individuals alleging human rights violations.
Paul’s practice is focused on defending general contractors, real estate developers, and specialty subcontractors in construction defect related litigation in both Oregon and Washington.
His litigation experience spans 25 years in the areas of construction defect litigation and appellate work in both state and federal court. Paul is known for his expertise in defending design professionals in malpractice claims as well as defending builders against property owners in construction-related claims.
Prior to joining Smith Freed Eberhard, Paul worked for several years as a general litigator focusing on criminal defense as well as a wide range of civil litigation both at the trial and appellate level. Paul has extensive experience in all phases of litigation including pre-trial practice, trial practice, and appellate work.
Ryan specializes in defending a wide range of personal injury claims and has significant representation in construction and job-site injuries, automobile accidents, catastrophic injuries, wrongful death, premise liability, and products liability.
Prior to joining Smith Freed Eberhard, Ryan gained his insurance defense experience working at law firms in Eugene and Portland, Oregon. While attending law school, Ryan served as an associate editor of the Oregon Law Review, preparing articles for publication and conducting associated research.
Cliff’s practice focuses primarily on the defense of personal injury and property damage claims brought against commercial and personal lines insurers and their insureds. His practice involves the handling of a wide range of cases, including personal injury negligence, errors & omission, liquor liability, construction defect, and business litigation.
Cliff has experience taking cases to jury verdicts as a lead trial attorney and has conducted numerous arbitrations and mediations in both Oregon and Washington. Cliff is also experienced in insurance coverage matters and regularly advises and defends carriers in coverage disputes. In addition, Cliff manages the firm’s probate and subrogation practices.
Cliff’s well-rounded legal background has provided him with the ability to quickly evaluate key issues and identify strategic opportunities in his cases. This enables his clients to efficiently and effectively prepare for trial or pursue favorable early resolution of matters when appropriate.
Ashley Nagrodski is an experienced trial attorney and partner in the firm’s Seattle office. She has been with Smith Freed Eberhard since 2014 and continues to expand and grow her practice. Ashley has experience in a wide range of complex litigation areas including commercial liability, premises liability, product liability, jobsite injury, wrongful death, sexual misconduct, and dram shop & tavern keeper.
Throughout her legal career Ashley has argued in more than 20 counties throughout the state of Washington. She has trial experience in both the traditional and virtual courtrooms, having tried cases in King, Pierce, Thurston, and Whatcom counties. Ashley tried one of the first hybrid remote/in person trials in Washington following the initial COVID-19 shutdown. Her energy, poise and confidence in the courtroom is unmatched.
In addition to being a skilled litigator, Ashley is very active with the Washington Defense Trial Lawyers (WDTL). She currently serves on the Board of Trustees as its Membership Trustee. She also serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the WDTL Defense News.
In her free time, Ashley enjoys exploring the Pacific Northwest, playing softball and volleyball, attending Seattle Kraken games, and traveling to various baseball stadiums to watch the Chicago Cubs. She also enjoys spending time with her three, energetic dogs.
As a leader in Smith Freed Eberhard’s Construction and Development Group, Mike leverages proficiency, over a decade of experience, and hard-nosed determination to give his clients the advantage. Mike focuses on representing general contractors, subcontractors, product manufacturers, and design professionals in all aspects of construction defect and design claims.
Before joining Smith Freed Eberhard, Mike worked on construction defect litigation with a niche Oregon-based insurance defense firm. During his time there, Mike gained substantial experience in depositions, arbitrations, and mediations. Mike has also worked as a judicial clerk in Multnomah County Circuit Court where he was closely mentored by trial court judges on all aspects of criminal and civil trials. He has been exposed to numerous trials, including working alongside some of Oregon’s most experienced litigators.
Prior to entering the practice of law, Mike graduated from Gonzaga University School of Law, where he served as the Managing Editor of the Gonzaga Law Review and competed with Gonzaga Law School’s National Trial Team.
Sean provides defense for insurers and their insureds in complex litigation suits in the areas of automotive claims, commercial liability defense, first and third-party claims, and SIU claims.
Prior to joining Smith Freed Eberhard, Sean was a judicial clerk in both Lane County and Multnomah County. During this time, he was able to observe over 75 court and jury trials and gain insight into advanced trial tactics.
While attending law school, Sean also worked as a law clerk at a mid-sized civil litigation firm in Eugene, Oregon. In this role, he became skilled in executing legal research and distilling his findings into concise arguments. In addition, he honed his composition techniques for creating effective legal documents.
Melanie is a litigator 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.
In law school, Melanie won awards for both client advocacy and legal writing. Some of Melanie’s first experiences in the legal community were volunteering for the Washington County Family Law Assistance Program and working at the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.
Melanie is an Oregon native and grew up in a handful of smaller, Southern Oregon towns. She moved to the big city for law school, fell in love with Portland, and can’t imagine being anywhere else. Away from work, Melanie can usually be found teaching knitting lessons at a local yarn shop, checking out a local brewery, or getting her yearly supply of Vitamin D during the 4 months of the year that it’s dry enough to be outside.
Brian Schiewe is an experienced litigator with a diverse legal background that helps him quickly grasp what will dictate a case’s outcome. Brian’s civil litigation practice includes construction defect, catastrophic and personal injury, premises liability, and a variety of commercial litigation matters.
Brian practices out of the firm’s Seattle office and defends individuals and companies of all sizes and industries in courts throughout Washington State. He routinely represents general contractors and subcontractors in the defense of construction defect claims. His premises liability experience includes defending retail stores, apartment complexes, restaurants, and other businesses in a variety of claims. In the personal injury arena, Brian’s experience is diverse and includes vehicle accidents, jobsite injuries, and product liability.
Before attending law school, Brian managed all aspects of litigation support as a paralegal at a Seattle, Washington firm, where he focused primarily on complex litigation and prosecuting class action cases involving corporate fraud and misconduct.
While in law school, Brian was recognized for excelling in written and oral advocacy and was selected as a finalist for the Cheney/Metzger Legal Writing Scholarship and for participation in Seattle University’s Frederic T. Tausend appellate competition. He also built upon his strong research and analytical skills as a Judicial Extern for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Washington.
Melanie’s practice focuses primarily on commercial liability defense, including premises liability, products liability, automobile liability, negligence, catastrophic injury, and liquor liability (dram shop) claims.
Prior to joining Smith Freed Eberhard, Melanie worked at a defense firm in Portland where her practice focused on insurance coverage and bad faith litigation. Prior to that, she worked at insurance defense firms in both Portland and Seattle where her practice included defense of third-party claims.
During law school, Melanie worked as a law clerk for the Oregon Department of Justice, Civil Litigation Section and externed for the Honorable Ronald B. Leighton at the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. She was also an Associate Editor-In-Chief on the Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy.
Joy Lee is a partner at Smith Freed Eberhard and her practice primarily focuses on commercial liability defense.
Joy has experience in a wide range of complex litigation matters including wrongful death, sexual misconduct, premises liability, product liability, defamation and jobsite injury. She has been successful in numerous Motions for Summary Judgment and prides herself on obtaining dismissals and early resolution for her clients whenever possible. Joy, however, prepares each case as if it is going to trial, and also co-chaired one of the first in-person jury trials in Washington following the initial COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.
Prior to joining Smith Freed Eberhard, Joy’s legal career started in Philadelphia and included working for the Philadelphia Law Department, Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, and a small civil defense firm representing municipal entities in tort litigation and workers’ compensation claims.
Joy is a proud graduate of Villanova University School of Law and served as the President of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association. Joy has since retired her Pennsylvania license after deciding to move back to the Pacific Northwest, which she now calls home.
In her free time, Joy can be found checking out new local eats with her husband, riding her bike on the Washington trails, and chasing her two children around Seattle.
Denny is a founding member of Smith Freed Eberhard. His practice specializes in complex civil cases with a focus on catastrophic personal injury claims.
With over 41 year’s experience, Denny is a seasoned attorney in a variety of litigation areas, including job-site injury, premises liability, construction dispute, products liability, business tort, large automobile and commercial transportation injury, fraud and property trespass. Denny has conducted over 300 jury trials and arbitrations involving numerous individuals and business entities. He has also participated in legislative sessions on behalf of the Defense Bar.
Bob is a founding member of Smith Freed Eberhard and has over 40 years of litigation experience. Bob frequently prepares and delivers seminars and lectures to insurance professionals and trade organizations on insurance coverage issues, hot topics, and legislative updates. He also has spent several years training agents for large insurers on all aspects of claims with an emphasis on errors & omissions liability and how to avoid it.
Bob’s practice is broad-based in all aspects of insurance defense. He focuses on Special Investigations Unit, first-party property issues, as well as property-related casualty claims. Bob provides coverage opinions for all aspects of property and casualty insurance and he conducts fraud investigations.
Steven Gassert is a senior associate attorney licensed in Oregon and Washington. His practice primarily focuses on construction defect litigation.
Steven has a diverse legal background and has experience practicing construction defect litigation, real estate law, and condo and homeowners association law. Prior to joining Smith Freed Eberhard, Steven worked as assistant vice president and general counsel at a health care cost containment company, where he served as the company’s primary legal officer. Prior to that, he worked at a class action and mass tort solutions company, where his primary focus was construction defect litigation.
Steven is originally from Pittsburgh, PA, but moved to Washington DC for school where he lived until moving to Portland in 2014. Steven has two daughters, meaning he is outnumbered three to one at home. He loves to cook, so he is always trying new recipes, even though his daughters always hate them (unless it’s chicken nuggets or mac and cheese). You could also say that he plays a lot of golf (at least once a week).
Jeremy is a senior associate licensed in Washington. His practice focuses on commercial liability, construction and personal lines.
Jeremy graduated from Seattle University with a J.D. in 2015, and he has been licensed to practice law in Washington since then. Prior to that he graduated from University of Washington with a Bachelor of Science in economics as well as a business administration degree in accounting in 2012.
Before Smith Freed Eberhard, Jeremy worked as a plaintiff’s personal injury attorney that transitioned to defense. He enjoys working on litigation cases.
Jeremy is originally from Florida, but he grew up in the Seattle area. Away from work, you can find him reading, hiking, kayaking, and spending time with his wife and son.
John is a senior associate attorney licensed in Washington. His practice focuses on Premises Liability, Negligence, Personal Lines, Automotive Defense, UM/UIM, and PIP.
Before joining Smith Freed Eberhard, John’s career focused on civil defense, homeowner & condo association, and bankruptcy. He led a successful dismissal of a wrongful death case based on accident reconstruction. Additionally, John accomplished a successful negotiation of early settlement based on medical emergency.
When John joined the Washington Defense Trial Lawyers (WDTL), he produced several presentations for WDTL including Negotiating CR 35 Examinations, UIM Claims in 2021, Using Motion Practice to Combat Late Disclosures, Service of Process Variety Pack, and Excess Contribution Strategies.
John grew up in Snohomish County and only left for school until moving back to his hometown in 2014. He enjoys spending time with his wife and two dogs, the outdoors, and like most Washingtonians, hiking and hunting. In his downtime, he likes to watch college football, especially WSU.
Veronica Wells is a senior associate attorney on the commercial liability defense and personal lines practice groups. Her practice focuses on negligence, premises liability, slip and fall, and automotive defense.
Veronica graduated from Western State College of Law in 2014. Prior to this she graduated from Oakland University with a B.A. in psychology in 2010.
Before joining Smith Freed Eberhard, Veronica worked as a public defender in Thurston County where she mostly did involuntary commitments, civil contempt cases, and some domestic violence misdemeanors. Following this, Veronica worked for Plaintiff’s Personal Injury firms, working mostly automobile cases and slip and fall cases.
Veronica was raised in Michigan but came to Seattle after law school. Outside of work, she loves to travel and go to museums.
Katie Russell is an associate attorney licensed in Oregon. Her practice focuses primarily on commercial liability defense.
Katie graduated from UC Davis, J.D. in 2020 where she worked on a class action lawsuit as a part of the UC Davis Civil Rights Clinic in law school. She helped represent all inmates and ICE detainees being held at Yuba County Jail in a claim involving inadequate living conditions and denial of medical care. Her team won the class action and monitored the implementation of new procedures, ADA accessible cells, and reform of jail policies regarding medical care. Prior to this, Katie graduated Cum Laude from the University of Oregon with a degree in English in 2017.
Katie was born and raised in the Bay Area of California. She moved to Oregon for undergrad and fell in love with the rain, the forest, and the Ducks. Katie went back to the sunshine for law school, but she could not deny her love for Oregon and returned to Portland to start her legal career. In her free time, Katie loves to go on adventures to discover parts of the PNW she has not seen before. She is also an avid reader and enjoys science fiction, in particular Octavia Butler and Ray Bradbury.
Carleigh is an associate attorney with her practice focusing on commercial liability defense and personal lines defense.
Carleigh graduated from Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark in 2020. Prior to that, she attended Albion College where she earned her Bachelor of Science in biology and a minor in psychology. Carleigh is now licensed to practice law in Oregon. During her years in law school, Carleigh was a representative within the Student Bar Association (SBA), participated in Appellate Moot Court, and was a co-founder of Students for Eliminating Environmental Discrimination (SEED). After graduating from law school in 2020, she took a judicial clerkship position with the Honorable Jeffrey S. Jones at Clackamas County Circuit Court. There she learned the intricacies of complex case litigation, civil and criminal procedure, the best strategies to use as a litigator, and developed a deeper understanding regarding the rules of evidence through the tutelage of one of the top evidence experts in Oregon. This position allowed Carleigh to obtain extensive experience in motions practice, Uniform Trial Court Rules (UTCR), and proper procedure for both jury trials and court trials.
Carleigh was born and raised in the Metro-Detroit area of Michigan. She is a first-generation lawyer, with most of her family electing careers in the Arts or STEM fields. Before moving to Portland for law school, Carleigh played the violin for 14 years and was second chair in the Oakland Youth Symphony, was a competitive archer and briefly trained under an Olympic archer, and she volunteered or worked at several local veterinary hospitals in Metro-Detroit. Outside of work, Carleigh can be found kayaking, checking out a local brewery or restaurant, or camping in the high deserts of eastern Oregon.
Sarah Jones is an associate attorney on the construction defect practice group.
Sarah graduated from the University of Oregon School of Law in 2021 where she won the 1L Mock Trial competition and then represented UO Law in the Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA) Mock Trial Regionals in 2020. Prior to that, Sarah graduated with a degree in English and a concentration in creative writing from California State University East Bay in Hayward, CA in 2015.
Before joining Smith Freed Eberhard, Sarah worked at a small 5-attorney plaintiffs’ side personal injury firm in Orinda, CA called Gillin, Jacobson, Ellis, Larsen & Lucey where she worked as a legal assistant. In law school Sarah clerked for the Oregon Department of Justice in the Child Advocacy Section and then for Oregon Public Broadcasting in their in-house counsel office.
Sarah grew up in the East Bay in California where she attended high school and graduated from college. She has lived in Minnesota, Colorado, Southern California, Eugene, OR, and now Portland, OR. Sarah also spent 8 months living in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia after college before attending law school. Outside of work, Sarah can be found rock climbing, traveling, or attending Blazers, Timbers, or Thorns games.
Jasmine Eberhard is an associate attorney on the commercial liability and personal lines defense practice groups.
Jasmine graduated from Boston University School of Law in 2020 where she served as editor on the Law Review for two years. While in law school, she was also a part of the criminal law clinic where she gained insight into the intricacies of how to effectively build and present a case to the jury as well as trial preparation and motion practice. Prior to law school, Jasmine graduated from Oregon State University in 2016 with a B.S. in political science, a B.S. in psychology, and a minor in economics.
Jasmine was born and raised in Oregon, and after she moved to Boston for law school, she realized she couldn’t stay away from the Pacific Northwest and moved back shortly after graduating. Away from work, Jasmine loves continuing to explore Oregon and the Pacific Northwest by hiking and camping. She also loves cooking, baking, and eating the delicious food around Portland.
Gabby graduated from Lewis and Clark Law School in 2020 where she worked at OHSU at the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Before this, she attended the University of Portland where she graduated with a B.A. in environmental ethics and policies in 2016.
Prior to SFE Gabby’s job focused on promoting diversity and inclusion through events, supporting student and employee affinity groups, and creating recruitment documents that highlighted the various diversity missions, activities, and opportunities at OHSU. Additionally, she worked on implementing a process for the Center for Diversity and Inclusion to better connect students and employees with the Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunity office when necessary. Gabby’s favorite aspect of the job was helping with the summer research internships her office hosted for students from underserved communities. Her work helped to connect these students with valuable opportunities, such as working in labs and presenting their research, in order to make them competitive applicants for medical schools.
Currently, Gabby is the co-chair of SFE’s Diversity Committee. Her practice areas focus in: commercial lines, personal lines, negligence, products liability, slip and fall, timber trespass, premises liability, wrongful death, dram shop & tavern keeper, and traumatic brain injury.
As an active member of the Oregon Association of Defense Counsel, Gabby was elected as an OADC Vice Chair of the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Affinity Group in 2023.
Gabby is a Portland Native and first-generation lawyer with both of her parents in the medical field. Outside of work Gabby likes to ski, play video games, and spend time with her family. She also likes to sing and play guitar as she was in choirs throughout her childhood and college. Gabby likes to spend a lot of time with Milo, her Chihuahua Pug who accompanies her on hikes and trips and who loves to snuggle.
Paige is an associate attorney on the personal injury litigation and commercial liability defense groups, including negligence, premises and products liability, dram shop, and jobsite injury.
Paige began working at Smith Freed Eberhard in 2018 as a litigation assistant and continued working at the firm as a law clerk throughout law school. Paige graduated from Seattle University School of Law and was admitted to the Washington State Bar. In law school, she worked in the Domestic Violence Immigration Clinic, held the Editor-at-Large position on a law journal, and mentored first year women law students. Prior to law school, she attended Seattle University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities with concentrations in Spanish and Psychology.
Paige grew up in the Seattle area and is a first-generation lawyer. She has always been musically inclined — she plays the violin and guitar and is learning ukulele. In the past she was a dancer and still enjoys taking ballet classes. Outside of work, she enjoys running, going to seeing live music shows, and trying new foods.
Aaron Gross is an associate attorney licensed in Washington. Aaron’s cases focus on Personal Lines: Automotive Defense, PIP, UM/UIM, Minor Settlement, and Motorist Minor Impact. Additionally, his practice areas focus in Premises Liability, Slip & Fall, Wrongful Death, Trucking & Transportation, Negligence, and Jobsite Injury.
Aaron graduated from Gonzaga University School of Law in 2021. Prior to that, Aaron graduated with a degree in Economics with a minor in Psychology from the University of Arizona in 2016.
Prior to working at Smith Freed Eberhard, Aaron was practicing family law and criminal law in Grays Harbor County, Washington. Aaron predominantly handled divorces, child custody, parenting plans, property division, and gross misdemeanors.
Aaron says after his initial interview at SFE, “I was blown away with how extensive SFE’s practice is. I was immediately drawn to the fact that insurance defense applies to so many different areas of law and that my case types could all be unique.”
Aaron enjoys downtime when not working. His hobbies include playing video games, playing guitar, reading, running, fly fishing, hunting, skiing, swimming, and collecting and building Lego toys. If Aaron was not a lawyer, he would still be a fly-fishing guide.
Duncan Campbell is an associate attorney licensed in Oregon and Washington. He works on the personal lines practice team as well as the commercial lines practice team.
Duncan graduated from Willamette University College of Law in 2020. Prior to that, Duncan graduated with a degree in Political Science in 3 years from the University of Oregon in 2016.
After graduating from law school, Duncan worked as a law clerk for a prominent plaintiff’s side personal injury firm. During his second year of practice, Duncan passed the uniform bar examination and was admitted to practice in Washington in addition to his Oregon Bar membership. Prior to working at Smith Freed Eberhard, Duncan’s experience focused on defending Workers’ Compensation claims for self-insured employers in the state of Washington, including work rebutting the occupational disease presumption statutes at RCW 51.32.185 and RCW 51.32.187.
At SFE, Duncan’s practice areas are Commercial Liability and Personal Lines. His experience focuses in a variety of areas including catastrophic injury, automobile liability, insurance claims related to PIP, UM/UIM, and bad faith allegations.
Duncan is a fourth-generation native Oregonian who loves the Pacific Northwest. He is an avid golfer, and fan of the Blazers and OSU Beavers, despite attending the University of Oregon. Duncan has a cocker spaniel named Lewis and a chi-poo named Luna, whom he loves dearly.
Eric is an associate attorney licensed in Oregon on the personal lines practice team. His practice focuses on Personal Lines, Automotive Defense, UM/UIM, and PIP.
Eric graduated from the University of Oregon School of Law in 2021, where he received the Legal Research and Writing Program’s Excellence in Written Advocacy Award in 2019 and finished top-25 in his class. Prior to that, Eric graduated with honors from the University of South Carolina in 2018, then worked as a business analyst for a professional hockey team in Nashville, TN, until moving to Oregon for law school.
After law school, Eric joined a small commercial litigation firm in Eugene, OR, that he clerked for during law school. There, he navigated complex legal issues for his clients across a variety of practice areas, including small business disputes, employer defense, trust disputes, will contests, contract disputes and professional license defense. Now, Eric brings his experience handling complex legal matters to advocate for his clients here at SFE.
Eric is a Southeast native originally from Atlanta, GA, who quickly fell in love with what Portland has to offer (especially all the McMenamins). Outside the office, you might be able to find him participating in a local trivia night, catching some live music, skiing at Mt. Hood, grabbing bagels from Kornblatt’s, or watching reality television at home.
Eric Dore is an associate attorney licensed in Washington. His practice areas focus on Negligence, Wrongful Death, Construction and Development, and Personal Lines.
Eric graduated from Marquette University Law School in 2017. Prior to that, Eric received his B.A. in English from the University of Washington. Before starting work at Smith Freed Eberhard, Eric worked in public defense in Bremerton, WA. Eventually, Eric transitioned to insurance defense and focused mainly on defending people in auto-accidents.
Outside of a few years in Milwaukee, WI for law school, Eric has spent the majority of his time in or near Seattle, WA. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and their two dogs. Along with that, Eric frequently keeps up with the Mariners, Seahawks and is an avid University of Washington football fan.
Brielle Douglas is an associate attorney licensed in Washington. Her practice focuses on commercial liability defense.
Brielle graduated from Gonzaga School of Law in 2022. Prior to that, she attended Gonzaga University in 2019. Before working at Smith Freed Eberhard, Brielle interned as a law clerk for the Washington State Attorney General’s Office in the Spokane Torts Division. Later, she interned with Avalara Inc.’s corporate counsel. During her time at Gonzaga School of Law, Brielle was also the president of the Women’s Law Caucus and was an Associate Editor on the Gonzaga Law Review.
After moving to Washington State in 2015 from San Jose, California, Brielle spent seven years in Spokane. After earning her undergraduate degree and JD from Gonzaga, she moved to Seattle, WA. Her hobbies include cooking, exploring Seattle, tending to her many houseplants, and spending quality time with her cat.
Rachel O’Hanlon is an associate attorney licensed in Washington. Her practice focuses on commercial liability defense, construction and development, and personal lines.
Rachel graduated from Seattle University School of Law in 2022. Prior to that, Rachel earned a degree in Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2014. Before working at Smith Freed Eberhard, Rachel gained experience as a litigation assistant in Personal Injury over the years. While in law school, Rachel externed for the Washington State Supreme Court under the Honorable Chief Justice Steven C. González and worked in the University’s Intellectual Property Trademark Law Clinic. Rachel is also a two-time recipient of the Fulbright Scholar Award of the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program.
After moving to Seattle in 2019, Rachel made a home for herself in the Pacific Northwest. Her hobbies include visiting art and cultural museums, trying new foods and wines, traveling, and learning about different cultures and languages.
Alex Robertson is an Associate Attorney licensed in Oregon. He works primarily on the commercial lines and construction defect practice teams with specialized areas such as jobsite injury, premises liability, subcontractors and more.
Alex graduated from Willamette University College of Law in 2021. Prior to that, he obtained his undergrad with a Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering from Oregon State University in 2015.
Prior to working at Smith Freed Eberhard, Alex worked in general construction. He has also clerked for an insurance defense firm in Salem, OR.
Alex is an Oregon native originally from Baker City, which he says is a hidden gem in Eastern Oregon. He loves to explore the Oregon Coast, hiking, and lifting weights. He also knows how to operate 35mm film projectors, but unfortunately, most theaters have all switched to digital.
Michaila is an associate attorney licensed in Oregon. She works primarily on the commercial lines practice team.
Michaila obtained her Graduate Diploma in Comparative Law and J.D. from Louisiana State University. Prior to that, she obtained her undergrad with a Bachelor of Science in Coastal Environmental Science at Louisiana State University.
Prior to working at Smith Freed Eberhard, Michailaworked at a small family law and criminal defense firm in Clackamas, OR. She predominantly handled divorces, child custody, parenting plans, and property division, as well as small estate plans. After practicing family law, Michaila explored her interest to learn an entirely new area of law. She came to SFE to start her new practice in the commercial liability and personal lines areas. From her initial interview, Michaila says that she was immediately drawn to the level of mentorship and commitment that SFE dedicates to their young associates.
Michaila was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, and then moved to Louisiana while completing her undergraduate and law degrees. Michaila and her husband moved to Oregon in 2021, looking for a change of scenery and new adventures. She enjoys downtime with her husband and their two dogs. She enjoys hiking, snowboarding, and golfing.
Maritza C. Fernandez, Esq. is an Associate Attorney licensed in Washington. Her practice focuses in commercial liability defense, personal lines, and construction & development. Maritza graduated from the University of Miami School of Law in 2022. Prior to that, she graduated with a B.A. in History from the University of Washington in 2019.
Before joining Smith Freed Eberhard, Maritza worked as a legal writer and she also interned at the Children and Youth Law Clinic in Miami, where she represented foster youth in juvenile dependency cases. Maritza says her focus has been in Litigation, which is what brought her to SFE.
Maritza successfully advocated for the expedited reunification of a transgender child with a gender-affirming parent in another state. She also wrote an article published on KidSide Miami with her supervising attorney at the Children and Youth Law Clinic on how courts and lawyers can best advocate for LGBTQIA+ children and youth in foster care. Additionally, Maritza wrote around nineteen articles published on BlackPast as a means of using her historical research skills to preserve and highlight African-American people and events (from musical groups like The Jackson Five to political advocates like Marielle Franco).
Maritza was born and raised in Florida. She is a first-generation lawyer. Her hobbies are creative writing, knitting and crochet, and spending time with her family and her cat.
Matthew Hebert is an Associate Attorney licensed in Oregon. His practice primarily focuses on Personal Lines.
Matthew graduated magna cum laude from Lewis & Clark Law School in 2023 and earned a certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Before law school, Matthew worked for the Salvation Army as the Affirmative Action Compliance Assistant in HR. He recalls conversations at the time with his HR director who had gone to law school and became inspired to pursue a career as an attorney.
In 2022, Matthew and co-author Prof. Michael C. Blumm published Constitutionalizing the Public Trust Doctrine in Chile, 52 Env’t L. 649. Matthew’s Professor had a connection with the Chile California Conservation Exchange (CCCX) and suggested that Matthew co-write the paper for his capstone project; The CCCX requested an academic paper recommending the public trust doctrine to constitutional reformers in Chile. The CCCX organizes conferences for California and Chilean public officials, academics, and NGOs to exchange information on environmental issues of mutual interest.
Originally from Lake Charles, Louisiana, Matthew grew up in Dundee, Oregon. When he’s not working, he spends time with his wife and his very active toddler. Matthew and his wife also recently welcomed a newborn. He enjoys watching soccer, particularly the Portland Timbers. Matthew plays guitar and piano. Before becoming a lawyer, he thought he would be a poet.
Alexandra Jansky is an Associate Attorney licensed in Oregon. Her practice focuses on Construction Defect and Commercial Lines.
Ally graduated summa cum laude from Lewis & Clark Law School. At Lewis & Clark, she served as an author for the Ninth Circuit Law Review and an Associate Editor for the Environmental Law Review. She also graduated summa cum laude from the University of Oregon Robert D. Clark Honors College, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Political Science.
Ally is a Portland native, born and raised, and a third-generation Oregonian. She loves to read and will read almost anything, but prefers classic and historical literature, and the occasional cult classic.
Melvin G. van Hurck is an Associate Attorney licensed in Oregon. His practice primarily focuses on Commercial Lines.
Melvin graduated cum laude from Lewis & Clark Law School in 2023 and received a Pro Bono Honors award. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History from Linfield University in 2020.
Prior to joining Smith Freed Eberhard, Melvin clerked at a public interest low-income firm primarily in family law and estate planning. He briefly worked for the Federal Public Defender for the District of Oregon as a law clerk, doing compassionate release for inmates at high COVID-risk prisons. Following that, Melvin developed an interest in civil litigation working closely with two partners at a plaintiff’s personal injury firm. He eventually followed those two partners to their new firm, specializing in representing victims of abuse and neglect. Melvin recalls pleasant interactions with SFE as defense counsel, which was what led him to apply to SFE a few months before graduating from Lewis & Clark Law School.
Melvin was born in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and raised there as well as Bangkok, Thailand. He enjoys traveling both domestically and internationally. Melvin is a huge sports fan in general, specifically the Blazers, Thorns, Titans, and his hometown soccer team, Ajax. He and his wife love to try out new places to eat in Portland. In free time, he enjoys playing immersive video games and building classic car models.