Before joining Bret Simmons and Jill Smith to form Simmons Sweeney Smith, Kelley was the long tenured managing attorney for the Seattle and, more recently, Spokane field legal offices for a Fortune 100 insurance company. She had overall responsibility and oversight for 28 attorneys and 1200 litigated files. Kelley has a wealth of knowledge in all aspects of insurance defense civil litigation, including discovery, motions, negotiations, mediation, trials and appeals. She has not only personally tried numerous cases, but also mentored and supervised field legal attorneys, to successful jury verdicts in countless matters in 15 or more Washington Superior Court venues. Kelley has vigorously defended high exposure commercial and personal liability claims including allegations of negligence, wrongful death, timber trespass, premises liability, veterinary malpractice, landslide, dog attack, and worksite injury. Kelley also litigated first party UIM/UM claims in binding arbitration and trial and has handled several Appeals including all briefing and argument in all three Divisions of the Court of Appeals and briefing within the Supreme Court of Washington.
Before practicing insurance defense, Kelley spent five years with the Washington State Office of the Attorney General as an Assistant Attorney General preliminarily in the Licensing and Employment Security Division and finally in the Torts Division. In the Licensing Division, she was the Team Leader coordinating driver’s litigation within all State and Appellate Courts. She also prosecuted for the Medical Quality Assurance Commission, the Nursing Commission and the Optometry Board. In the Torts Division, she defended a variety of tort, civil rights, employment and personal injury lawsuits and claims against several State agency clients. As an AAG, she tried over 20 cases to successful jury verdicts, including a complete defense verdict in an employment discrimination matter. She argued multiple cases in the Court of Appeals and obtained a dismissal in one matter via motion in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Kelley gained early and invaluable experience from the onset of her legal career within the Corrections Division of the Attorney General’s Office wherein she had the opportunity as a Rule 9 Legal Intern to draft several successful summary judgment motions dismissing inmate Section 1983 claims and also participate in parole revocation hearings.
Kelley employs a very experienced, sensible, efficient, and when necessary, aggressive approach to litigation to achieve winning results for her clients. She prides herself on being a zealous, yet professional and respectful advocate. Over the course of her successful 20+ year legal career, Kelley has tried to verdict nearly 50 cases, obtained numerous summary judgment dismissals, and argued appeals in all three Appellate Divisions in the State of Washington, including a handful that resulted in published decisions. She has worked tirelessly to bring thousands of cases to favorable resolution to the great satisfaction of individual, commercial and employee/state agency clients within Washington and insurance claims partners across the country.
Kelley has been a speaker and presenter at numerous Continuing Legal Education seminars including for the Washington Defense Trial Lawyers and King County Bar Association. Kelley has served as an Arbitrator in King and Pierce Counties and also for several insurance companies in first party binding arbitration matters. Kelley has expanded her litigation repertoire to include serving as Mediator and enjoys drawing upon her experience to assist parties to reach successful resolution of litigated claims. Kelley has volunteered to judge many YMCA Youth & Government and Seattle University School of Law mock trial competitions.
Kelley received her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, with Concentrations in Finance and Organization & Environment, from the University of Washington and her Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, from the Seattle University School of Law. She was the Captain of the University of Washington Volleyball team. Kelley is also a longtime member of the Washington Defense Trial Lawyers and the King County Bar Associations. She is now a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (“ABOTA”) which is a national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges and membership is by invitation only.
When not practicing law, Kelley enjoys spending time with her husband, watching her children play various sports and vacuuming fur from her Giant Alaskan Malamute. She loves all levels of competition including participating in sponsored golf and volleyball tournaments or the family and/or friend organized Pickle Ball, Horse, Euchre, Whist, Cribbage and Chess games and tournaments.
If you would like to schedule Kelley Sweeney for a mediation or arbitration please contact us directly at:
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