Cynthia joined the firm (then Swanson, Thomas & Coon) in 2004 and has been a partner since 2012.
Born in 1960 in Pittsburgh, PA, Cynthia grew up in Pullman, Washington. Inspired by her father, an orthopedic surgeon, she first considered a career in health care. Then, in her last semester at Washington State University she signed on with the school newspaper and daily covered the trial of the landmark case brought under Washington State’s Equal Rights Amendment, Blair v. Washington State University. Female athlete Blair, 38 other female athletes and coaches of 11 women’s sports alleged they were denied an equal education and sex discrimination. Cynthia had never met an attorney before–let alone a team of women trial lawyers who fought and won the case for the athletes. The plaintiff athletes and lawyers in that courtroom demonstrated that legal cases can and do change lives and systems.
After college, Cynthia worked at a dialysis clinic caring for underprivileged patients and taught writing as a graduate student. Still, she could not forget the trial lawyers from the Blair case and, in 1983, chose law over both health care and journalism, and entered law school, to develop the skills necessary to advocate for others within the legal system.
In 1987, Cynthia graduated Hastings College of the Law where she received the Jurisprudence Award in Civil Advocacy (trial work) and wrote for the International & Comparative Law Review.
After law school, Cynthia stayed in California and practiced at the prestigious Walkup Firm, prosecuting medical negligence, premises liability, construction and products liability cases. She earlier worked on the defense side at an insurance defense firm and at Southern Pacific Railroad.
Cynthia has successfully tried and arbitrated a wide variety of injury and death actions. Her practice focuses on medical negligence, workplace (general contractor and third party), premises liability and vulnerable road users (bicyclist and pedestrian) injury and death cases.
Cynthia is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts of California (1987), Oregon (2003) and Washington (2013).
Cynthia regularly serves as Volunteer Mediator for both the Multnomah and Washington County Small Claims Courts. She presents bicycle/pedestrian rights and safety clinics for a wide variety of Portland groups, including women’s groups of all kinds and groups and employers interested in increasing non-vehicle commuting and recreation. She is an active member of OTLA, the Multnomah Bar Association and the State Bar. She has served on the MBA’s Judicial Screening, Professionalism Award, CLE and Court Liaison Committees and currently serves on its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, chairing its Diversity Award Selection Subcommittee. Previously, she chaired the State Bar Uniform Civil Jury Instructions Committee.
Cynthia has served on the board of npGreenway, an advocacy group supporting a trail from the Steel Bridge to Kelly Point Park, linking North Portland neighborhoods with the Willamette River for recreation and access to jobs. She currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Portland’s Station L Rowing Club.
When she’s not reconstructing a collision at the scene, combing through medical records or discussing an injury with a medical expert, you can find Cynthia sculling or sweep rowing on the Willamette, on her bike or out in her garden with her husband and two labs, Rocky and Duma.
Practice area focus: Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, Catastrophic Injury, Brain Injury, Construction/Industrial Accidents, Medical Negligence, Car Collisions, Truck Collisions, Bicycle Accidents, and Pedestrian Accidents.