Ryan Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC
401 Union Street, Suite 1500
Seattle, WA 98101-2668
Ryan Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC
401 Union Street, Suite 1500
Seattle, WA 98101-2668

Ryan Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC
401 Union Street, Suite 1500
Seattle, WA 98101-2668

David L. Tift
I became a lawyer because I saw how the lawyer in the small town where I grew up was able to help people.

Dave Tift’s practice involves both commercial and healthcare litigation. He has defended numerous long-term care facilities involved in lawsuits claiming professional negligence. His practice also involves commercial litigation, including anti-trust, non-competition and unfair competition disputes in state and federal courts.

Dave is a longtime trial lawyer in state and federal court, with extensive experience litigating on behalf of banks and financial institutions, as well as healthcare providers around the state. Dave has prosecuted collection of notes and loan guarantees by individuals and companies. He has litigated against federal agencies that have guaranteed loans on behalf of lenders. Dave successfully represented a Washington State bank several years ago in the defense of one of the largest lender liability claims in recent years. Dave has also been lead counsel in representing several banking regulatory agencies. He has over 30 years of litigation experience and is a former Chair of the firm’s Litigation Practice Group. Dave was recently invited to join the American Board of Trial Advocates (“ABOTA”).

Dave also has a growing aviation practice. His aviation work has included serving as local counsel for several national and international airlines, prosecuting and defending crash litigation and representing individuals and companies in disputes with the FAA, DOT and NTSB. Between 3 years at Continental and over 2 decades in private practice, Dave has litigated the full spectrum of aviation crashes, from single-engine general aviation aircraft crashes to commuter and commercial airliner disasters, and from fixed wing to helicopters.

Professional & Community Activities
  • Board Member, CougsFirst! Seattle (2019)
  • Member, LTC Risk Legal Forum (2015)
  • Co-Chair, Aviation Section, King County Bar Association (1998-1999)
  • Chair, Aviation Section, King County Bar Association (1992-1993)
Speaking engagements
  • Speaker, Charting from a Litigation Perspective, Washington Health Care Association (2012)
Honors & Awards
  • Martindale Hubbell AV® Preeminent 5.0 out of 5


  • Seattle University School of Law (formerly University of Puget Sound School of Law)
    (J.D., 1982)
  • Washington State University
    (B.A., cum laude, 1979)
Admitted to Practice
  • Washington (1983)
  • Montana (2018)
  • Oregon
  • Texas (inactive)
  • U.S. District Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington

Hobbies & Interests

Being a litigator is a challenging profession. But challenges are nothing new for Dave. Dave is an avid climber who co-owned a local mountain guide service in the early 1980s. He has climbed Mt. Rainier numerous times and has also climbed throughout the Cascade Range, including Mt. Adams, Mt. Baker, and the Price Glacier on Mt. Shuksan near the Canadian border, as well as Africa’s Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Blanc in the French Alps.