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Diane Vaksdal Smith

Diane Vaksdal Smith

Practice areas:

Employment & Labor, Appeals

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About Me

          I focus my practice on employment issues, representing both employers and employees, in cases involving claims of wrongful discharge, wrongful termination and infringement on civil rights.  I am a member of the Firm's Commercial Litigation group where I handle business related cases. Finally, I direct the appellate litigation for the firm, appearing before the state and federal appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court.


          I joined Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C., in 1997. I also served as a contract Magistrate Judge for the Seventeenth Judicial District, and handled small claims matters from January of 1996 to February 2002. I wrote "The Small Claims Handbook" to help individuals who represent themselves in Small Claims Court.


          I received my law license in 1984. Prior to joining Burg Simpson, I worked at Hall & Evans, LLC, the Kobayashi Law Offices and Mountain States Legal Foundation. I also served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Karen S. Metzger, Colorado Court of Appeals.


          I often lecture in the Denver community on a variety of topics. I am a contributing author to The Practitioner's Guide to Colorado Employment Law, published by Continuing Legal Education in Colorado.  I am a past chair and current member of the Denver Bar Association's Legal Fee Arbitration Committee and a past member of the Colorado Bar Association's Ethics and Attorney Regulation Committees.


          For many years, I have been active in adopting and supporting American servicemen and women who have been stationed abroad and in harm’s way. Over the years, my family, friends and I have adopted more than 1,000 people – at which point, I just stopped counting. We’ve sent everything from cameras and MP3s to beef jerky and razors. If they want it, we find a way to get it. 


          I also work with kids at the high school level. For 15 years, I have participated in Colorado’s High School Mock Trial competition, sponsored by the Colorado Bar Association. I am always invigorated when I have the chance to watch our future lawyers start to find their voices, while still in High School. I also volunteer at my children’s school, by chaperoning trips, lecturing classes, and generally providing help wherever I can. 


          Finally, I support several causes through my knitting needles. I participate in Burg Simpson‘s effort to support Kaps for Kendall and have provided dozens of hats in support of their program. I've also donated to the Soldier's Squares Project. Most recently, I’ve become involved in supporting The Recovery Buddies Project, which provides knitted pillows that are donated to people who are in some form of a recovery program and need just a little bit of support to keep moving along the path to wellness.

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Practice Areas

Licensed since 1984

  1. Appeals: 50%
    30 years
  2. Employment & Labor: 50%
    30 years

Payment

Fees:

Hourly ($350-400/hour), Contingent (35-45%)

Attorney Endorsements

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Contact Info

Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C.

40 Inverness Drive East
Englewood, CO, 80112

Resume

License

StateStatusAcquiredUpdated
COActive198408/30/2015

Professional Misconduct

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

Avvo Contributions

Legal Answers

Awards

Award NameGrantorDate Granted
Preeminent 5.0 out of 5Martindale-Hubbell2013
2012 People's Choice Best Employment LawyerColorado Law Week2012
Preeminent 5.0 out of 5Martindale-Hubbell2012
AV PreeiminentMartindale-Hubbell2011
2011 People's Best Employment LawyerColorado Law Week2011
Top 100 AttorneysNational Trial Lawyers Association2011
Barristers' Best Employment LawyerColorado Law Week2010
Top Women LawyersColorado Law Week2008
FellowColorado Bar Association Foundation2003

Work Experience

TitleCompany NameDuration
ShareholderBurg Simpson Eldredge Hersh Jardine, PC1997 - Present
Contract Magistrate Judge17th Judicial District1996 - 2002

Associations

Association NamePosition NameDuration
Colorado Bar Association, Military and Veteran's Affairs SectionMember2013 - Present
Colorado Bar Association, Legal Fee Arbitration CommitteeMember2013 - Present
Operation TBI FreedomBoard of Advisors2012 - Present
Plaintiffs Employment Lawyers AssociationMember2012 - Present
Association of Wage and Hour AttorneysExecutive Board Member2011 - Present
Colorado Bar Association, Ethics CommitteeMember1996 - 2001
Denver Bar Association - Legal Fee Arbitration CommitteeMemberN/A
Arapahoe County Bar AssociationMemberN/A
Colorado Trial Lawyers AssociationN/AN/A

Legal Cases

Case NameOutcome
•Hynes v. Energy West, Inc. 211 F3d 1193 (10th Cir 2000)N/A
•Hildalgo v. Fagen, Inc. 206 F3d 1013 (10th Cir 2000)N/A
•Powers v. MJB Acquisition Corp., 184 F3d 1147 (10th Cir 1999)N/A

See all Legal Cases 

Publications

Publication NameTitleDate
ABA Law Practice MagazineThe Common Law Employee Versus the Independent Contractor: A Legal Primer2010
Burg SimpsonHostile Workplace Claims: The New Battleground2006
The Colorado LawyerFinality of Judgment-Issue Preclusion, Claim Preclusion, and Law of the Case2006
Burg SimpsonSmall Claims Handbook - A Guide for Non Lawyers2001
Burg SimpsonTrends Regarding Housing Issues2001
Burg SimpsonEthics and Professionalism Issues in Employment Law Cases2001

Education

School NameMajorDegreeGraduated
University of Denver College of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor1984
University of Wisconsin, SuperiorN/ABS - Bachelor of Science1980

Speaking Engagements

Conference NameTitleDate
Colorado Lawyers for Colorado VeteransReal Property Legal Issues2011