20 Under 40: Josh Smith

Partner/Attorney, Gleaves Swearingen

Age: 36

“I can say without reservation that Josh is one of the brightest, most honest and practical attorneys I have ever met. He has rightfully achieved the reputation as an empathetic, practical and skilled advisor.”

Cassie K. Jones, Gleaves Swearingen LLP


Josh Smith began clerking at Gleaves Swearingen during law school, becoming partner after only five years. He serves on the firm’s management committee, builds morale as manager of the coed softball team, and helps to bring in outstanding associates. Smith is president of the Greenhill Humane Society’s Board of Directors, where he steered the board during a $5.6 million capital campaign and helps oversee a building project that will greatly improve the care of stray animals.

Get to know them

Q: How has your community involvement impacted your work and life?

Becoming increasingly involved in our community has enriched both my career and my life generally. I got involved in the joint Chamber Leadership Program early in my career and that was valuable to learn about different facets of the community. Learning more about the community absolutely helped me in practicing law here, providing a more real world, practical perspective on local matters.

I subsequently joined the Greenhill Humane Society Board of Directors and now serve as the Board President. Greenhill does such wonderful and meaningful work, and to be affiliated with it and be a small part of its services and its growth in the community has been massively rewarding.  Working behind the scenes to support Greenhill’s $5.6 million capital campaign, it has been exhilarating to watch brand new kennels come up in the place of an old, worn-out kennel and know that animals in the community are about to get a brand new, cozy home while they await adoption. As we break ground on additional phases of the campaign, including various other improvements and the construction of an improved clinic space, there’s more work to do but it’s already been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be involved in such a remarkable project. I think anyone that has an opportunity to get involved in the community, especially if it’s to support a mission that is close to their hearts, should not hesitate to take it. It’s so great to work on something you know will have a lasting impact and mean so much to so many, both of the four-legged and two-legged variety, here locally.


Q: What motivates and inspires you?

Three things motivate and inspire me: my colleagues, my clients, and my family.  First, I am fortunate to work with folks I consider friends who push and support me in my practice on a daily basis.  Second, my firm’s diverse client base motivates me to be thoughtful and practical, and to be willing to think outside the box to find solutions to their problems.  Lastly, my family, and specifically my 5-year-old son Wyatt, who inspires me to get up every day and grind so that I can show him the value of hard work. It motivates me to give back to the community so he can grow up in a place that provides him with the tools to be happy and successful.


Q: What mentors, colleagues, and partnerships have inspired you in your career development?

I think having good mentors to learn from and emulate is imperative to becoming a good lawyer.  I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the very best lawyers in the community. Many of the lawyers at Gleaves Swearingen have been here for decades, reinforcing and passing down the firm’s culture and single-minded focus on providing the highest quality legal work and always putting the client first. During law school, I was unsure if I wanted to remain in Eugene once I graduated. However, after clerking at Gleaves following my second year of law school, I knew I had found the firm that did things the right way and where I would be both supported and challenged. It was the team of lawyers that inspired me then and continue to inspire me today to push forward and to keep learning and keep growing.