top of page
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

professional shot fave 1_edited.jpg


  • Owner, Law Offices of Denise Smith Cline, PLLC. since 2010

  • 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, 2022

  • Best Lawyers in America, Employment Law, 2014-2021

  • 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 to present

  • “Super Lawyer” in General Litigation by Law and Politics Magazine 2010-14, Employment Law 2015 to present

  • Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite, Labor and Employment Law 2006 to present               

  • Highest AV® Rating, Martindale-Hubbell            

  • Chair, Raleigh Civil Service Commission

  • Former Board Member and Chair, 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 to present

  • 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

  • Panel of Neutrals, CPR

  • Superior Court Certified Mediator 

  • Member of Hayes Barton United Methodist Church

  • Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM)


Publications and Presentations

  • “So Now What? A Candid Look at the Progress of Women in the Law”, Panelist, Fall Meeting, Litigation Council of America, October 2019.

  • “Mediating Employment Matters,” North Carolina Bar Association, Dispute Resolution Section Meeting, March 7, 2019.

  • “Arbitrating Your Employment Law Case,” Advocates For Justice Continuing Education, February 1, 2019.

  • Mediator Challenge, Co-presenter, North Carolina Bar Association, Dispute Resolution Section Meeting, March 2016.

  • “Glass Slippers, Glass Ceiling.” Panelist, Spring Meeting, Litigation Council of America, April 2015.

  • “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.

  • 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

bottom of page