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.
$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.
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.