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Focusing on Employment

and Healthcare Law

Learn more about Denise



Employment Counsel and Litigation


Denise regularly represents both employers and employees in navigating employment issues, whether in negotiating contracts or severance terms, terminations, or non-competition agreements. Sometimes, however, litigation is the only solution. Denise has more than 25 years’ experience as a litigator, representing both plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal courts and arbitration proceedings throughout the country.  Denise is regularly named in Best Lawyers in America in Employment Law, Super Lawyer in Litigation by Super Lawyers Magazine, Top 50 Women Lawyers in North Carolina, and Top 25 Lawyers in Raleigh, North Carolina.  She has also been named “Lawyer of the Year” in her area of practice by Best Lawyers in America in 2019 and 2022.  Since 2014, she has also been named as a member of the Legal Elite in Employment Law, by Business North Carolina.  Denise is a speaker and Senior Fellow in the peer-nominated Litigation Council of America, of which she has been a member since 2012.

Employee Training and Internal Investigations


Denise offers employer training in harassment prevention, diversity and other employment practices. She also regularly conduct internal investigations, reviews and audits of employment policies, handbooks and practices.

Dispute Resolution

Denise has broad experience as an arbitrator and mediator and serves as an Arbitrator on the Panel of Neutrals for the American Arbitration Association in Employment Law and American Health Lawyers Association. A North Carolina Superior Court certified mediator since 1996, she regularly mediates state and federal cases involving employment, healthcare, personal injury and business disputes.



Denise Smith Cline Law focuses on a full array of state and federal law and regulations relating to employment and the workplace, including issues involving discrimination, retaliation, and disability accommodation, non-competition, non-solicitation, confidentiality and trade secret agreements, and severance and separation packages. Denise has represented both employers and employees over the years, although most of her clients are businesses who regularly call upon her for employment counsel.


As a mediator and arbitrator, Denise has helped resolve disputes involving professional practices and services and has represented a number of healthcare clients, regularly drafting and reviewing physician, staff and other employment contracts. She regularly works with physician, dental, law and other professional practices on healthcare and employment law compliance issues and conflict resolution. Denise has a special interest in the changing law relating to technology and privacy in the workplace.


Two things still make me happy that I'm a lawyer: connection with clients and the challenge of telling their stories as clearly and persuasively as possible. A former newspaper reporter, I believe in the power of a few, well-chosen words. I also believe in listening closely to each client's needs, and responding with solutions that fit that client’s individual needs instead of providing cookie- cutter legal responses. I strive to provide excellent, responsive service and to maintain a high level of integrity with my clients and among my colleagues.

In 2010, and after serving in two large regional law firms for more than 20 years, I started my own practice. Now I have the opportunity to choose the clients for whom I can advocate most effectively and focus on cases that best suit my experience and skill set. When I'm not working, I enjoy writing, both fiction and non-fiction, running, biking, hiking and swimming. I enjoy art and music of all kinds, cooking, conversations and travel. The older I get, the more I impressed I am by genuine humility and an open heart. I’m helped in my efforts to stay humble when I hang around young people like my twin children, daughter and son, who regularly strive to keep me honest and current, and who always keep me laughing.







Tel:  (919) 602-6225


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