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.

Burg Simpson Shareholder Mari K. Perczak Set to Speak at Construction Law Event

 April 19, 2018

Burg Simpson Shareholder Mari K. Perczak Set to Speak at Construction Law Event

Burg Simpson Shareholder Mari K. Perczak will be a featured panelist at a one-day Construction Law conference on April 30 at the Embassy Suites Denver. View the Construction Law event brochure here for information and scheduling. The continuing education event, sponsored by CLE International, is targeted at a variety of construction professionals, including attorneys, owners, contractors,… Read more »

Burg Simpson Beats Big Banks Again

 April 17, 2018

Burg Simpson Beats Big Banks Again

National trial firm Burg Simpson, known for its role in holding big banks accountable for their bad acts in the mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligation collapse of 2007-2008 where $7 trillion in worldwide wealth was lost, has prevailed against a big bank yet again. This time it was against UBS, in a FINRA securities… Read more »

Martindale-Hubbell Honors Nick D. Fogel

 April 16, 2018

Martindale-Hubbell Honors Nick D. Fogel

Industry awards are nice, but few mean as much as accolades from your own peers. That’s what shareholder Nick D. Fogel earned as he became the latest Burg Simpson attorney to receive a Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating, “awarded to only those lawyers with the highest ethical standards and professional ability.” Only about 10… Read more »

Michael S. Burg Blasts Trump Administration Handling of CFPB

 April 12, 2018

Michael S. Burg Blasts Trump Administration Handling of CFPB

The Trump Administration has taken aim at one of the few remaining protections for American consumers: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Burg Simpson founding shareholder Michael S. Burg says consumers should be very concerned. “I think what they’ve done is strip away the original intent,” of the bureau as a watchdog, Michael told “Morning Briefing”… Read more »

Spinal Cord Injury– Denver Injury Attorney Denver Burg Simpson

 April 11, 2018

Surviving the First 90 Days After A Spinal Cord Injury

Every year in the United States, more than 17,000 people suffer spinal cord injuries, based on the latest data from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. It’s estimated that there are nearly 300,000 Americans living with a spinal cord injury today. That’s a big reason why Burg Simpson takes these life-altering injuries so seriously…. Read more »

Craig Hospital and Brain Injury– Brain Injury Lawyer Denver – Denver Burg Simpson

 April 4, 2018

Burg Simpson Helps Craig Hospital Treat Brain Injuries

For better or worse, brain injuries have been in the news more frequently in recent years.  In 2009, the tragic death of actress Natasha Richardson brought attention to the perils of an epidural hematoma.  Ms. Richardson fell while taking a skiing lesson, appeared initially unhurt, but later developed a headache and was diagnosed with an… Read more »

Colorado Drivers Are Worse Than Average – Personal Injury Attorney Denver– Colorado Burg Simpson

 March 27, 2018

Colorado Drivers Are Worse Than Average

Observant commuters might have noticed a few different messages on the state’s electronic interstate signs mentioning the most recent amount of traffic deaths for the year. It’s the latest in the Colorado Department of Transportation’s two-year-old strategy to post regular death tallies on the signs as a way of increasing driver awareness. The most recent… Read more »

Stucco Installation Invites Mold- Colorado Construction Defect Law Firm - Burg Simpson

 March 21, 2018

Poor Stucco Installation is an Invitation for Mold

One of the single most critical aspects of any new home is what’s referred to as the building envelope or building enclosure. This is the part of any building that physically separates the exterior environment from the interior.  Think of it as the “skin” of a building. The construction defect attorneys at Burg Simpson recently… 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.

Ring of Fire: The Unseen Economic Crisis

 February 29, 2016

Ring of Fire: The Unseen Economic Crisis

Ring of Fire host Farron Cousins talks with Michael Burg about taxes and the government’s resistance to upgrade America’s infrastructure.

Top 100 National Trial Lawyers Legal 500 Best Lawyers in America Super Lawyers US News 2014 Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers