Dianne Baquet Smith is a partner in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the firm’s Los Angeles office. Prior to joining the firm in 1991, Ms. Smith was senior labor and employment counsel with Sears, Roebuck and Co.’s Regional Law Department, where she litigated cases and provided legal services and advice to facilities in 14 western states.
Ms. Smith has extensive experience representing management in litigation of wrongful discharge, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wage and hour, breach of contract, breach of public policy, ERISA, and other types of employment cases, through trial. She has handled traditional labor issues (grievance arbitrations, union representation proceedings, unfair labor practices, strikes, contract negotiations, lockouts, handbilling, picketing, etc.).
She has trained and advised clients on personnel matters, employment practices, compliance, loss prevention, operating, and other subjects, facilitating preventative and necessary responsive action. She has handled a broad range of administrative matters regarding business practices, including wage and hour claims, employment discrimination charges with state and federal agencies in California, Oregon and Washington, and proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board, OSHA, and the California Department of Industrial Relations.
As a trial attorney with the National Labor Relations Board from 1980 through 1982, Ms. Smith investigated and tried unfair labor practice cases and handled representation matters and injunction proceedings.
- J.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1980
- A.B., Stanford University, 1977
- Supreme Court of the State of California
- U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit
- U.S. District Court, Central, Eastern, Northern and Southern Districts of California
- Representation of a non-profit health maintenance organization for general labor and employment counseling and advice, and representation in various discrimination/wrongful discharge/retaliation actions pending in Los Angeles Superior Court.
- Following two-week jury trial obtained defense verdict and costs for employer (ice cream manufacturing plant) and supervisor in L.A. Superior Court hostile environment sexual harassment action, Judgment for defense upheld on appeal.
- Defended major financial institution in Los Angeles County Superior Court action alleging race discrimination in employment. Favorable settlement reached.
- Lead trial counsel for national bank in federal court action (Santa Ana) alleging disability discrimination, wrongful termination and violation of ERISA for alleged failure to provide COBRA notice. Following grant of partial summary judgment, case settled for favorable terms, avoiding costly trial.
- Lead counsel on jury trial of L.A. Superior Court wrongful termination and whistle blower case brought against non-profit health care organization.
- Represented salaried pension plan in federal court action alleging denial of enhanced retirement benefits and breach of fiduciary duties. Action settled following filing of motion for summary judgment.
- Following effective discovery and filing of summary judgment motion, obtained favorable settlement in L.A. Superior Court action alleging breach of contract and defamation against major aerospace contractor and three managers.
- Member, American Bar Association
- Member, National Bar Association
- Member, Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles
- Former President and Board Member, Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles Foundation
- Former Vice President and Board Member, California Bar Foundation, 2010-2016
- Board Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association Foundation, 2007-2010
- Member and Former Vice Chair, Diversity in the Profession Committee, Los Angeles County Bar Association, 2006 – present
- Former Judge Pro Tem, Los Angeles County Municipal Court
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