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)

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.

Tom W. Henderson Breaks Down Insurance Policy Details

 January 18, 2018

Tom W. Henderson Breaks Down Insurance Policy Details

The latest component in Burg Simpson’s ongoing professional education initiative is set for next week. Shareholder Tom W. Henderson will conduct a 90-minute web seminar, “Advising Your Business Clients on Insurance Policies,” at 9 a.m. MST on Jan 18. Designed for Colorado corporate litigation attorneys, this CE course will cover: Defining Ambiguous Terms. Understanding the… Read more »

Burg Simpson Announces its New Website Launch

 January 17, 2018

Burg Simpson Announces its New Website Launch

Burg Simpson is proud to announce the launch of a more comprehensive website that incorporates the firm’s office locations into a single site. The new Burg Simpson website, which has since focused on Colorado’s practice areas, now encompasses information for its Arizona, Ohio, and Wyoming offices all in one place, along with their practice areas,… Read more »

Mandatory Arbitration Agreements Could Be Here To Stay

 January 11, 2018

Mandatory Arbitration Agreements Could Be Here To Stay

Burg Simpson co-founder Michael S. Burg recently sat down with Law Week Colorado to discuss mandatory arbitration agreements, and what impact the #MeToo movement might have on that in the coming year. Several factors came together in 2017 to breathe new life into these controversial agreements, but experts debate whether an uptick in sexual harassment claims… Read more »

Burg Simpson Shareholders Speak at 2018 Brain Injury Summit

 January 9, 2018

Burg Simpson Shareholders Speak at 2018 Brain Injury Summit

Burg Simpson has long been a champion of traumatic brain injury victims. That commitment was on full display this week as shareholders Peter W. Burg and David P. Hersh presented at the 2018 Brain Injury Summit in Vail, Colorado. The Burg Simpson Colorado personal injury attorneys moderated, “Pearls of TBI Neuro-Litigation,” an interactive workshop, earlier… Read more »

Protect Uninsured Workers – Colorado Workers Compensation Attorneys – Burg Simpson

 January 10, 2018

Colorado Fights to Protect Uninsured Workers

The state of Colorado requires all employers with even a single employee to carry workers’ compensation insurance. It doesn’t matter if those employees are part time or full time. In fact, anyone who receives pay for services in Colorado is considered an employee, as far as workers’ compensation insurance is concerned. There are exceptions, of… Read more »

Business Dispute Options – Colorado Corporate Litigation Attorney - Burg Simpson

 January 2, 2018

What Are Your Business Dispute Options?

Business owners operate under the cloud of potential litigation nearly every day. Whether it’s a multinational corporation, a family-owned business, or a small sole proprietorship that’s just opened up its doors, business owners and leaders often face legal issues that can take time and money away from their day-to-day operations. Business and commercial law isn’t… Read more »

Plastic Surgeons Can Do Permanent Harm – Denver Medical Malpractice Lawyers– Burg Simpson

 December 27, 2017

Plastic Surgeons Can Do Permanent Harm

It might surprise – or even startle – you to find out that Colorado does not require plastic surgery centers to be licensed or even inspected by the state. These medical providers are exempt from regulations that govern other ambulatory surgery centers because providing surgical services isn’t their primary function. The state actually lets these… Read more »

Colorado Law Protects from Unfair Competition – Colorado Corporate Litigation Attorney - Burg Simpson

 December 19, 2017

Colorado Law Protects Companies from Unfair Competition

Back in June, tech giant Amazon shocked the business world when it revealed plans to acquire natural grocer Whole Foods. For the most part, the nearly $14 billion deal elicited either cheers or tears. While most people hailed the move, hoping the Web retailer would cut prices at the high-end organic food chain, others decried… 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