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.  Ms. Smith previously directed appellate litigation for the firm, appearing before the state and federal appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court.

Ms. Smith joined Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C., in 1997. She has achieved the highest rating from her peers for the 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.  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. 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 was a contributing author to The Practitioner’s Guide to Colorado Employment Law. Ms. Smith is a past chair and 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. Ms. Smith also served on the CBA’s Colorado Lawyers for Colorado Veterans, where she participated in the Committee’s Clinics for Veterans as well as the Committee’s Executive Committee.

Ms. Smith previously served on the advisory board for Operation TBI Freedom. Ms. Smith continues to work on projects benefitting service members serving in the United States and abroad.  Ms. Smith adopted more than 1,000 Marines, and other service personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, providing all forms of personal support.

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

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

Colorado Bar Association

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

“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, The Common Law Employee Versus the Independent Contractor: A Legal Primer (Feb., 2010)

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.

Ohio Attorney David Harman hero image

 April 24, 2019

David C. Harman and PLN: Changing the Lives of Underprivileged Scouts

As an Eagle Scout himself, shareholder David Harman understands the benefits and virtues that Scouting can supply. Accordingly, when an opportunity arose for him to support the Boy Scouts of America (“BSA”) in Cincinnati approximately three years ago, he jumped on it and joined a volunteer group called the Professional Leadership Network (“PLN”). PLN’s mission… Read more »

 April 19, 2019

Shareholder Stephan Marsh Nominated for Outstanding Workers’ Compensation Attorney Award!

Burg Simpson shareholder Stephan J. Marsh has been nominated by the Professionals in Workers’ Compensation, and his peers in the industry, for the Outstanding Workers’ Compensation Attorney Award! The PWC Awards were established to recognize lawyers for their outstanding contributions to the workers’ compensation community, and the annual award is presented to those who are making a… Read more »

Honorable Alan K. Simpson hero image

 April 12, 2019

Republicans and Democrats Can Learn a Lot from Former Sen. Alan Simpson

Hon. Alan K. Simpson, one of the founding shareholders at the law firm of Burg Simpson Hersh Eldredge & Jardine, P.C., was featured in the April 10, 2019, edition of the Corpus Christi Caller. Alan Simpson is a former U.S. Senator (R-Wyoming) who served from January 1979 to 1997, where he was the Assistant Republican… Read more »

 April 8, 2019

The American Board of Trial Advocates Presents Masters in Trial® 

The American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) Presents Masters in Trial.   Angela E. McGraw – Trial Lawyer.   Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine is pleased to announce that attorney Angela McGraw, Of Counsel at the firm, is a presenter on the faculty of The American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) Masters in Trial® program on Friday, April… Read more »

Honorable Alan K. Simpson hero image

 April 18, 2019

Join Former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson from Cody WY for a “Fireside Chat”

Don’t miss the opportunity to participate in a fireside chat with former United States Senator Alan Simpson of Cody, WY,  former Governor Michael J. Sullivan, and Wyoming Federal District Court Judge Alan Johnson as they discuss the three branches of government, their functions and why it matters to you. WHEN: Tuesday, April 23, 2019,  at 7:00 p.m…. Read more »

 April 18, 2019

What is a Whistleblower or “Qui Tam” Lawsuit?

A “Whistleblower” is defined as a person who informs on an individual or a company engaged in an illicit activity. Ralph Nader, an American political activist, attorney, and consumer advocate is credited with coining the term in the 1970s. Qui tam comes from the Latin phrase meaning “[he] who sues in this matter for the… Read more »

Burg Simpson | Workers’ Compensation

 April 17, 2019

Burg Simpson | Workers’ Compensation

Shareholder Nick Fogel is the practice group leader of the Workers’ Compensation division at Burg Simpson. Workers’ Compensation is a form of insurance that protects employees when they are injured on the job or in the line of duty. Workers’ compensation provides both wage replacement and medical benefits. Filing a workers’ compensation claim can be… Read more »

Hunting

 April 15, 2019

Hunters Beware… Tree-Hanging Hunting Stand Can Lead to Fall

By Jessica Powell, Burg Simpson Associate On April 11, 2019, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) announced that DICK’S Sporting Goods is recalling a tree-hanging stand marketed for hunters. According to the CPSC’s recall notice, the Field & Stream Timberline Hang On Tree Stand poses a fall hazard, as the weld on the seat… Read more »

Burg Simpson | Workers’ Compensation

 April 17, 2019

Burg Simpson | Workers’ Compensation

Shareholder Nick Fogel is the practice group leader of the Workers’ Compensation division at Burg Simpson. Workers’ Compensation is a form of insurance that protects employees when they are injured on the job or in the line of duty. Workers’ compensation provides both wage replacement and medical benefits. Filing a workers’ compensation claim can be… Read more »

Burg Simpson | We Are Here To Help

 April 5, 2019

Burg Simpson | We Are Here To Help

Burg Simpson is a law firm committed to helping injured people rebuild their lives after a serious accident or injury. Our trial lawyers have handled nearly every kind of injury or wrongful death case. The team at Burg Simpson has the resources, nationwide reputation, or proven track record of success when it comes to helping… Read more »

Becoming Whole Again

 April 4, 2019

Becoming Whole Again

If you or a loved one has suffered a loss due to an injury or death because of the negligence of another, you are entitled to receive full and fair compensation for your pain and suffering. Burg Simpson’s office in Arizona can help you navigate your personal injury claim. Burg Simpson attorney, Scott A. Ambrose… Read more »

Arizona Medical Malpractice Team

 April 4, 2019

Arizona Medical Malpractice Team

Burg Simpson’s Arizona medical malpractice team is dedicated to helping seriously injured victims fight for their rights. Our Arizona medical malpractice team has over 75 years of combined experience in the medical malpractice arena. Burg Simpson associate Ronda Kelso worked as a nurse prior to entering the legal field. Ms. Kelso has the legal experience… Read more »

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