Meet our Attorneys

Diane Vaksdal Smith

Of Counsel

Diane Smith
Diane Vaksdal Smith-5280 Top Lawyer 2016 Diane Vaksdal Smith - Super Lawyers Diane Vaksdal Smith - 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)

The Common Law Employee Versus the Independent Contractor: A Legal Primer

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

Hostile Workplace Claims: The New Battleground
© 2006 Diane Vaksdal Smith

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.

Washington Capitol Building

 December 12, 2018

Letter Urging Senate to Defend Democracy Co-Signed by Former Senator Al Simpson

A week after giving his moving eulogy at late President George H.W. Bush’s wake, former Republican Senator Alan K. Simpson joined with forty-three other former Senators across party lines in publishing a letter to the Washington Post. This co-signed letter urges the current Senate to embrace a bipartisan defense of democracy and constitutional values as… Read more »

 December 6, 2018

Retired Firefighters Get Burned When Health Care Benefits are Terminated

Attorney Brian Matise at Burg Simpson handles complex civil litigation cases, and he has taken the lead on the West Metro Case. This case involves the distribution of more  than $1.8 million in funds that remained in a trust that was committed to fund health insurance benefits for 73 retired firefighters and their dependents. These… Read more »

Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY) gives eulogy for late President George W.W. Bush

 December 5, 2018

Former Senator Al Simpson Eulogizes President George H.W. Bush

This morning, former Senator Alan K. Simpson (R-WY) celebrated the life of former President George H.W. Bush, his long-time friend and colleague. Speaking of the man’s warmth and integrity, Sen. Simpson delivered a moving speech on President Bush’s legacy of integrity, loyalty and sacrifice. When speaking to the press, Alan Simpson spoke on the difficulties… Read more »

Honorable Alan K. Simpson hero image

 December 4, 2018

Former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., to Remember George H.W. Bush at Wednesday’s Funeral

Former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., to remember George H.W. Bush at Wednesday’s funeral at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. The former senator, a colleague and longtime friend of George and Barbara Bush, will be one of four speakers to deliver the eulogy at the late president’s funeral this week. Simpson and Bush established their… Read more »

 December 14, 2018

Burg Simpson Supports Toys for Tots!

Co-Founder and Shareholder Peter Burg, and the Burg Simpson Team, Supports The Toys for Tots Foundation! Every year, the lawyers and professional staff at Burg Simpson are honored to support The Toys for Tots Foundation. The foundation raises funds to purchase toys for under-privileged children, and provide promotional materials, solicit corporate support, educate the public,… Read more »

Mass Tort Class Action

 December 13, 2018

What is the Difference Between Mass Tort Litigation And Class Action Litigation?

Mass Tort litigation and Class Action litigation both handle negligence cases with multiple victims, but each has very specific ways of handling these kinds of matters. Mass tort cases and class action lawsuits share certain similarities: A large group of plaintiffs who claim they have been hurt. Common defendants who have been accused of causing… Read more »

 December 12, 2018

THE BURG SIMPSON SCHOLARSHIP DEADLINE IS RAPIDLY APPROACHING!

The deadline for students to submit their 1500 word essays is February 1, 2019. For the past several years, Burg Simpson has awarded college scholarships to the graduating high school seniors who won our essay competition regarding the importance of the civil jury system and how it is being threatened. The annual Burg Simpson Scholarship… Read more »

 December 11, 2018

Traumatic Brain Injuries in Infants

One of the most common types of traumatic brain injuries in infants is Cerebral Palsy (CP). Receiving the news that your newborn has been diagnosed with this condition is some of the most devastating information a parent can receive. CP caused by birth trauma affects thousands of newborns every year. Birth trauma is a general term… Read more »

Good Lawyers. Changing Lives. – Supporting Communities with Burg Simpson

 November 5, 2018

Good Lawyers. Changing Lives. – Supporting Communities with Burg Simpson

All attorneys at Burg Simpson strive to make our motto more than just words. Both in and out of the courtroom, our attorneys work to support local and national communities by protecting their rights and to making certain that crisis recovery and educational opportunities are available to all. In this video, Burg Simpson shareholder and… Read more »

Massachusetts Gas Explosion – Holding Corporations Accountable

 November 2, 2018

Massachusetts Gas Explosion – Holding Corporations Accountable

The negligence of Columbia Gas caused the massive gas explosions  in Andover, Lawrence and North Andover, MA. After the gas explosions, more than 2,000 people found themselves displaced, and their towns resembled a war zone. These gas explosions could have easily been avoided. Columbia Gas had been warned twice over the last decade that an explosion was… Read more »

Attorney Tom Henderson explains why the Durango 416 Fire aims to hold the Durango-Silverton Railroad accountable.

 November 2, 2018

Seeking Justice for Victims of the Durango 416 Fire

Colorado’s Durango 416 Fire was caused by the Durango-Silverton Railroad’s coal-burning train on June 1, 2018. The blaze has been reported to be the state’s sixth largest forest fire in history, and the fire destroyed homes and businesses in Durango and the surrounding area. Burg Simpson is now representing those affected by the 416 Fire… Read more »

Consumers Must Beware of Body Brokers

 November 2, 2018

Consumers Must Beware of Body Brokers

Body brokers are relatively unchecked and under-regulated by state and federal agencies.  Across the United States, mortuaries and hospices are committing fraud by allowing body brokers to convince families who have lost their loved ones to donate the body “for medical research.” But instead of being donated, the body ends up being dismembered and then… Read more »

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