Meet our Attorneys

Diane Vaksdal Smith

Of Counsel

Diane Smith
Diane Vaksdal Smith-5280 Top Lawyer 2016 Diane Vaksdal Smith - Super Lawyers Martindale Hubbell AV Professional Excellence

Ms. Smith focuses her practice on employment issues, representing both employers and employees, in cases involving claims of wrongful discharge, wrongful termination and infringement on civil employment rights. Ms. Smith also handles commercial litigation, involving claims for breach of fiduciary duty.

Additionally, Ms. Smith directs appellate litigation for the firm, appearing before the state and federal appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court. In 2015, she was listed in Top 50 Women Lawyers in Colorado, by Colorado Super Lawyers®, and was also named to the Top 50 Women Lawyers list in Law Week Colorado in 2015.

Ms. Smith joined Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C., in 1997. She has achieved the highest rating from her peers for quality of legal work, professionalism, and ethics and has received a preeminent “AV” rating by Martindale-Hubbell. Law Week Colorado named Ms. Smith as Barristers’ Best Employment Lawyer in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014, and Barristers’ Best Appellate Lawyer in 2015. Law Week Colorado also selected her as one of the 2008 Top Women Lawyers of the Year. Ms. Smith has also been named a Top 100 Attorney by The National Trial Lawyers. Ms. Smith has been named to Benchmark Litigation’s Plaintiffs Top 150 Women Lawyers.

Ms. Smith served as a contract Magistrate Judge for the Seventeenth Judicial District, and handled small claims matters from January of 1996 to February 2002. She is the author of “The Small Claims Handbook.”

Ms. Smith received her license in 1984. Her past experience includes employment with Hall & Evans, LLC, the Kobayashi Law Offices and Mountain States Legal Foundation. Ms. Smith also served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Karen S. Metzger, Colorado Court of Appeals.

Ms. Smith is a frequent lecturer in the Denver community on a variety of topics. She is also a contributing author to The Practitioner’s Guide to Colorado Employment Law. Ms. Smith is a past chair and current member of the Denver Bar Association’s Legal Fee Arbitration Committee and is a past member of the Colorado Bar Association’s Ethics and Attorney Regulation Committees. Recently Ms. Smith began working with the Colorado Lawyers for Colorado Veterans, where she participates in the Committee’s Clinics for Veterans.

Ms. Smith contributed hats to Kaps for Kendall and she supports Toys for Tots; she also contributed an afghan for the Soldier Squares Project. Ms. Smith and her sons have been adopting and providing support for Marines since 2005. Over that time, they have adopted more than 1,000 Marines, and other service personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ms. Smith serves as a member of the advisory board for Operation TBI Freedom.

Employment Litigation

Appellate Law

$5,000,000 settlement for pension beneficiaries

$300,000 settlement for teachers injured by sex discrimination

$250,000 settlement for victim of sexual harassment

$250,000 verdict for victims of gender hate crime


  • Hynes v. Energy West, Inc. 211 F3d 1193 (10th Cir 2000)

  • Hildalgo v. Fagen, Inc. 206 F3d 1013 (10th Cir 2000)

  • Powers v. MJB Acquisition Corp., 184 F3d 1147 (10th Cir 1999)

  • Slack v. Farmers Ins. Exch., 5P3d 280 (Colo. 2000)

  • Titan Indem. v. Sch. Dist. No. 1., 129 P3d 1075 (Colo. App. 2005)

  • Moreland v. Alpert, 124 P3d 896 (Colo. App. 2005)

  • Lin v. City of Golden, 97 Ped 303 (Colo. 2004)

  • Abraham v. Great Western Energy, LLC, 101 P3d 446 (Wyo. 2004)

Top 50 Women Colorado Lawyers, Colorado Super Lawyers®, 2015

Top 50 Women Lawyers, Law Week Colorado, 2015

Selected to Colorado Super Lawyers®, 2014-2016

Denver's Top Lawyers, 5280 Magazine, 2015-2016

Benchmark Litigation, Plaintiffs, Top 150 Women Lawyers, 2014

Local Litigation Star, Benchmark Litigation, Colorado – Plaintiffs, 2013

Barrister’s Best People’s Choice Employment Lawyer, Law Week Colorado, 2010-2014

Barrister’s Best "Best Appellate Lawyer," Law Week Colorado, 2015

Top-Rated Lawyer in Labor & Employment Law, FORTUNE Magazine, 2013

Outstanding Honors, University of Wisconsin-Superior

Highly Recommended by Benchmark Litigation Guide, 2012

Fellow, Colorado Bar Association Foundation

Top 100 Attorney, the National Trial Lawyers (NTL)

Top Women Lawyers as rated by Law Week Colorado’s comprehensive selection process (2008)

AV Preeminent® Rating, Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review is an outstanding achievement and demonstrates that a lawyer has earned the highest rating available for their legal ability and professional ethics.

Colorado, 1984

U.S. Claims Court

U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, 6th Circuit, 7th Circuit, 9th Circuit, 10th Circuit

U.S. District Court, District of Colorado

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan

U.S. Supreme Court

J.D., The University of Denver Sturm College of Law, 1984

B.S., University of Wisconsin-Superior, summa cum laude,1980

The National Trial Lawyers Association (NTL)

Colorado Trial Lawyers Association (CTLA)

Colorado Bar Association Board of Governors (2012)

Colorado Bar Association

Arapahoe County Bar Association (ACBA)

Member, Legal Fee Arbitration Committee, Denver Bar Association

Executive Board Member, Association of Wage and Hour Attorneys (AWHA)

Member of Operation TBI Freedom’s Advisory Board, providing services for service members who have returned with a traumatic brain injury or PTSD.

Executive Board Member of the Bar Association’s Military & Veterans Affairs

Active "adopter" of American servicemen and women, providing supplies for those stationed abroad and in harm’s way.

Involvement in Colorado Bar Association High School Mock Trial Competition

Participant in Kaps for Kendall

“Standards of Review 101” – Trial Talk Magazine, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, April/May 2013

9NEWS: 9Wants To Know with Jace Larson – Customers Fight Back Against Littleton Business

Contributing author – “The Practitioner’s Guide to Colorado Employment Law.”

The Colorado Lawyer (Feb., 2010)

Trends Regarding Housing Issues (Diane Vaksdal Smith)
© 2001 Diane Vaksdal Smith, Esq.

Ethics and Professionalism Issues in Employment Law Cases (Diane Vaksdal Smith)
© 2001 Diane Vaksdal Smith, Esq. and Kathryn E. Miller, Esq.

Finality of Judgment – Issue Preclusion, Claim Preclusion, and Law of the Case
© 2006 Diane Vaksdal Smith, Esq.
This Article was originally published in The Colorado Lawyer, Vol. 35, Issue No. 7 (July 2006)

Small Claims Handbook – A Guide for Non Lawyers (Diane Vaksdal Smith)
© 2001 Diane Vaksdal Smith, Esq.

Alan K. Simpson Argues For a 28th Amendment

 August 16, 2017

Alan K. Simpson Argues For a 28th Amendment

Are corporation’s people? It might sound like a simple question, but it’s one the U.S. Supreme Court answered in the affirmative when it handed down its landmark Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision in 2010. That 5-4 ruling struck down a prohibition against certain election communications by nonprofits, corporations, labor unions, and other associations…. Read more »

Michael S. Burg Blasts Supreme Court Big Pharma Ruling

 August 15, 2017

Michael S. Burg Blasts Supreme Court Big Pharma Ruling

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court handed Big Pharma a big victory. In Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, the high court struck down California’s effort to widen the scope of non-residents seeking relief from dangerous drugs. In an 8-1 decision, the court ruled against nearly 680 plaintiffs who were suing the… Read more »

Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine Attorneys Recognized in 2018 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©

 August 15, 2017

Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine Attorneys Recognized in 2018 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©

  Twenty-Three Attorneys Were Listed in The Best Lawyers in America ® 2018 Four Attorneys Listed as 2018 Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year” In Their Practice Area and Region August 15, 2017 (Denver, CO) – Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C., one of America’s foremost plaintiff trial firms, is proud to announce several… Read more »

Weyerhaeuser Floor Joists Could Be Poisoning Your Home

 August 9, 2017

Weyerhaeuser Floor Joists Could Be Poisoning Your Home

August 9, 2017 (Denver, CO) – Thousands of new homes may be uninhabitable due to excessive levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, found in the joists of finished and unfinished basements. Homeowners and construction workers have reported feeling ill, with burning eyes and respiratory issues, after exposure to hazardous levels of formaldehyde present in these… Read more »

Traumatic Brain Injuries – Denver Injury Lawyer – Burg Simpson

 August 16, 2017

What you Should Know About Traumatic Brain Injuries

Few things can change – or end – a life as quickly as a Traumatic Brain Injury. TBIs play a role in nearly a third of injury deaths in the United States. More than 150 people die every day as a result of these devastating injuries, which works out to more than 50,000 fatalities annually…. Read more »

HR 1215 Bill – Colorado Medical Lawsuit Attorneys – Burg Simpson

 August 10, 2017

Legislation Threatens Medical Malpractice Victims

While Congress distracted the country with the drama of a failed Affordable Care Act repeal vote, lawmakers quietly – and barely – passed HR 1215, the “Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017,” on June 28. The bill makes it much harder for victims of medical malpractice to hold health care providers responsible for their… Read more »

Underride Accidents – Denver Injury Attorney – Burg Simpson

 August 9, 2017

What are the Dangers of Truck Underride Accidents?

In 2004, 26-year-old Roya Sadigh and her fiancé were on their way home for Thanksgiving in a blizzard. Their car hit a patch of ice, spun out of control, and slid beneath a tractor-trailer. The truck’s rear wheels ran over the car, crushing it. Sadigh died before she could make it to the hospital. These… Read more »

Construction Work Danger – Denver Workers Compensation Attorney – Burg Simpson

 August 8, 2017

Construction Work is as Dangerous as it is Diverse

With a jobless rate of just 2.4 percent, Colorado boasts the fourth-lowest construction unemployment rate in the country. Construction workers have been in high demand in Colorado for years, fueled by a robust housing market with increasingly high demand and low inventory. It’s a sector that shows no signs of slowing down, either. Analysts expect… Read more »

Ring of Fire: Even Republicans Are Disgusted by The Republican Party

 May 3, 2016

Ring of Fire: Even Republicans Are Disgusted by The Republican Party

A Ring of Fire first! Host Farron Cousins talks to former Senator Alan Simpson in a unique opportunity on Ring of Fire to speak with a Republican about the current state of the Republican Party.

CBS 4: Michael Burg Inducted to Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame

 April 28, 2016

CBS 4: Michael Burg Inducted to Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame

CBS 4 in Denver highlights Burg Simpson attorney Michael S. Burg’s induction into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame

Radio 850KOA: Michael Burg Inducted to Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame

 April 28, 2016

Radio 850KOA: Michael Burg Inducted to Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame

Denver’s Radio 850KOA ran a news story about Michael Burg’s induction into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame.

Burg Simpson Legal Minute: Civil Justice System

 April 21, 2016

Burg Simpson Legal Minute: Civil Justice System

Burg Simpson shareholder Calvin Tregre Jr. examines changes to the civil justice system, where limitations have been placed on monetary awards to seriously injured victims of corporate negligence. Are you protected?

Trial Talk magazine

 November 18, 2015

Trial Talk: Cross Appeal? Now What?

Burg Simpson Attorney and Shareholder Diane Vaksdal Smith’s article, published in CTLA’s Trial Talk, April/May 2015, addresses specifics of appellate practice and procedure. Download full article PDF

The Trial Lawyer Magazine

 November 18, 2015

Homebuilders v. Homeowners

Threats to Shift an Already Tilted Playing Field More in Favor of Homebuilders Burg Simpson attorneys Jennifer A. Seidman and Ronald M. Sandgrund examine what could happen if lawmakers allow builders to take advantage of and mischaracterize the causes of the Great Recession’s lingering effects, and the facts regarding the real causes of the decline… Read more »

Pop Culture

 November 18, 2015

Part IV – Does Popular Culture Influence Lawyers, Judges, and Juries?

TV and Movies – What We Love and Love to Hate Twelve Angry Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, the O.J. Simpson debacle…do these movies and televised lawsuits influence decision makers? Burg Simpson attorney Ronald M. Sandgrund continues the panel series dialogue, with Part IV addressing TV and movies. Download full article PDF

Pop Culture Part 3

 November 18, 2015

Part III – Does Popular Culture Influence Lawyers, Judges, and Juries?

Managing Popular Culture’s Influence Popular culture generally has been defined as “culture based on the tastes of ordinary people rather than an educated elite.” Part III investigates whether popular culture may be undermining the rule of law. Burg Simpson attorney Ronald M. Sandgrund mediates this panel article. Download full article PDF

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