Denise Smith Cline's Biography


A.B. English, Davidson College 1979
University of Reading, Reading, England, 1977-78
J. D., School of Law, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1983
   • North Carolina Law Review 1982-83
   • Holderness Moot Court, 1982

  • Owner, Law Offices of Denise Smith Cline, PLLC. 2010 to the present
  • Partner, Smith Moore Leatherwood, LLP, 2003-2010
  • Member, Moore & Van Allen, PLLC 1991-2003
  • Associate, Moore & Van Allen, PLLC 1985-1991
  • Law Clerk to Justice Burley Mitchell and, Chief Justice Joseph B. Branch, North Carolina Supreme Court, 1983-85
  • Senior Lecturing Fellow, Duke University School of Law


  • Lawyer of the Year in Employment Law, Individuals, 2019
  • Best Lawyers in America, Employment Law, 2014-2019
  • Best Law Firms 2016 to Present, U.S. News & World Report
  • Top 50 Women Lawyers in North Carolina, Top 25 Lawyers in Raleigh, NC,Super Lawyers' Magazine, 2017-19
  • “Super Lawyer” in General Litigation by Law and Politics Magazine 2010-114, Employment Law 2015 to present
  • Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite, Labor and Employment Law 2006-2019                 
  • Highest AV® Rating, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Commissioner, Raleigh Civil Service Commission, 2010 to the present
  • Board Member, Triangle Pastoral Counseling
  • Former member Board of Directors, Wake County Smart Start
  • Former member Board of Directors Way of the Greater Triangle
  • Litigation Counsel of America, 2012-19
  • Wake County Bar Association
  • North Carolina Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • American Health Lawyers Association
  • AHLA Panel of Neutrals
  • Panel of Neutrals, American Arbitration Association
  • Superior Court Certified Mediator
  • Member of Hayes Barton United Methodist Church
  • Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM)
Publications/ Speeches
  • “He Posted What?” -- Managing Employee Blogs in the Workplace. Business Leader July 2007; DRI “For the Defense” October 2006
  • “Enforcing Physician Noncompetition Agreements: Five Myths, Five Tips,” North Carolina Medical Society website; Members Section under Practice Management, spring 2005
Recent Presentations and Speaking Engagements
  • “Understanding the Impact of Health Care Reform on Employers", Lorman Seminar, August 2010
  • “Blogging, Social Media and the Workforce: Managing Privacy Issues.” Webinar Brighttalk, September 2009.
  • “Raising a ‘Red Flag’: Understanding the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, the ‘Red Flag’ Regulations, and Their Impact on Health Care Providers,” Audio Seminar, October 23, 2008.
  • “E-Privacy: How to Legally Monitor Employee Communications.” Center for Competitive Management audio conference on January 30, 2008, co-presenter with Anthony Oncidi of Proskauer Rose LLP.
  • “Blogging and Social Networking: What’s the Law Got to Do with It?” Advanced Learning Institute’s Social Media Summit: How to Use Blogging, Podcasting & the Latest Web 2.0 Technologies, New York, NY, October 2007.
  • National Business Institute: “Wage and Hour Claims: a Practical Guide to Claim Resolution.” September 2006
  • Health Care Industry Conference: “Privacy Concerns in the Workplace.” August 2006
  • Wake County Human Services: “2006 Changing Faces: Issues in Workforce Diversity and Human Resources Conference.” May 2006
  • National Business Institute: “Advanced Issues in North Carolina Employment Law.” Winter 2005
  • North Carolina Bar Association: “Covenants not to Compete in the Healthcare Industry --- Still Enforceable in North Carolina.?” Fall 2005
  • North Carolina Association of CPAs: “Staffing Smart for Physician Practices – Hiring, Retaining, and
  • Managing Medical Staff for Best Results.” Summer 2005Bowman Enterprises, Inc.: “Legal Pointers for Managing Documents in a Computerized Age.” Spring 2005
  • N.C. Medical Society Website and Members Section Practice Management section: “Enforcing Physician Noncompetition Agreements: Five Myths, Five Tips.” Spring 2005