profile headshot of Danielle D. Smid


When people ask what type of lawyer I am, I respond that I am the type of lawyer that helps employers balance their most valuable assets, i.e. their employees, with their business needs.  I am the lawyer that understands that personnel decisions are not black and white and must be made from both a human, business and legal perspective.  Depending on the situation, I may be leading an investigation in your workplace, walking you through a crisis personnel situation over the phone or sitting next to you in the boardroom seeking board approval for important personnel decisions.  I can give you detailed legal analysis on personnel matters which incorporates the business perspective and avoids future litigation.  I will help you manage your most valuable assets in an efficient and high performing manner. 

My Approach

I have learned in my practice that personnel decisions cannot be made on legal risk alone.  Employers have to continue to run their business efficiently and profitably while maintaining a workplace that incentivizes employees to perform up to their highest potential while maintaining a work/life balance.  My job as an employment lawyer is to work directly with human resources and leadership to make personnel decisions that maintain that balance but also avoids unnecessary legal risk and prevent future litigation.  I work alongside employers to see the big picture risks, to investigate concerns and to make decisions that allow their businesses to succeed in today's market as well as in the future.  In addition, and in the unfortunate circumstances that litigation arises,  I assist employers with all of their administrative agency matters, including but not limited to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, the Department of Labor, the National Labor Relations Board, Occupational Health and Safety Administration, as well as defend employers in state and federal courts. 

More About Me

Before returning to BrownWinick, in January 2019, I was a managing attorney for a utility working directly with leadership on labor and employment matters as well as litigation management.  My experience in-house provided me with the business perspective that I needed to help employers approach important personnel decisions. 

I began my legal career at BrownWinick as an associate after graduating from Drake University Law School in 1998.  While at BrownWinick both as an associate and eventually as a member, I practiced primarily in the labor and employment arena both on the counseling and litigation side.  Prior to attending law school at Drake University I graduated from Iowa State University  with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1995.  I am currently admitted to the Iowa bar and the Wisconsin bar.

I am a Board member of Hope Agency in Des Moines and serve on the City of Grimes Planning and Zoning Commission. 

My Specialties

  • Employment counseling
  • Employment litigation
  • Employment and Restrictive Covenant Agreements
  • Labor issues
  • Administrative Law

Court Blocks FTC Rule Banning Employment Noncompete Agreements on a Limited Basis

07-10-2024 On May 7, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a Final Rule banning most post-employment non-competes for all workers, except senior executives, employed by for-profit employers. However, recent judicial decisions are stirring up problems for the Final Rule. Important Court Rulings On July 3, 2024, in Ryan LLC v. Federal Trade...
Read More

Supreme Court Tightens Standards for NLRB Injunctive Relief

07-3-2024 The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is an independent federal agency tasked with safeguarding employees' rights and addressing unfair labor practices by employers. In the recent Supreme Court case Starbucks Corp. v. McKinney, 144 S. Ct. 1570 (2024), the Court's 8-1 decision imposed the stricter traditional four-factor test for granting...
Read More

DOL Independent Contractor Final Rule

01-31-2024 On January 9, 2024, the Department of Labor (DOL) released its Final Rule which changes the criteria for classifying independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Final Rule is set to take effect on March 11, 2024, and rescinds the 2021 independent contractor rule, replacing it with an analysis that the DOL explains, is...
Read More

The NLRB Issues a Final Rule Regarding The Joint-Employer Standard

10-31-2023 On October 26, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board issued a final rule addressing how to determine whether two employers have joint-employer status. The final rule introduced a broadened standard as to who may classify as a joint-employer. The new standard will go into effect on December 26, 2023. A “New” Standard The final rule establishes...
Read More

Navigating New Horizons in Workplace Equality: Insights from the EEOC's 2024-2028 Strategic Enforcement Plan

10-5-2023 In a significant move towards ensuring workplace equality and combatting discrimination, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has recently released its Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) for Fiscal Years 2024-2028. This comprehensive plan outlines the EEOC's priorities and strategies in tackling employment discrimination issues...
Read More

Proposed Overtime Rule: What Employers Need to Know

09-18-2023 The U.S. Department of Labor is shaking up the employment landscape with a proposed rule that’s set to benefit approximately 3.6 million salaried workers. This rule, proposed on August 30, 2023, seeks to expand overtime protections, ensuring overtime compensation for those who’ve been working long hours without extra pay. In this blog post, we’ll...
Read More

Minnesota Passes Paid Family and Medical Leave: Effective in 2026

08-9-2023 Paid Family and Medical Leave On May 25, 2023, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed a Paid Family and Medical Leave bill (HF 2). The law provides employees with up to 20 weeks of paid family or medical leave per year. The leave program will be administered by a new division of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development: The...
Read More

Dept. of Labor Offering $15M in Grants to Address Workforce Challenges in Critical Sectors: What Iowa Employers Need to Know Before Applying

07-12-2023 On May 17, 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the availability of $15 million in grants to help address challenges the workforce system faces in training people for good jobs in critical sectors including care, climate resiliency, and hospitality. The program was designed to improve job quality and the availability of good jobs,...
Read More

Child Labor Regulations Relaxed in Iowa

06-16-2023 On May 26, 2023, Iowa experienced a significant development in its child labor laws as Governor Kim Reynolds signed a new bill into law. This legislation, which had previously cleared the state legislature (House 60-34, Senate 29-18), was submitted to Governor Reynolds for her final approval on May 3, 2023. The newly enacted law modifies existing...
Read More

Non-Compete Agreements Facing Additional Challenges

06-6-2023 On May 24, 2023, Governor Walz signed into law a significant change to the enforceability of employee covenants not to compete. In any employment agreement entered into on or after July 1, 2023, post-employment covenants not to compete will be void and unenforceable. Iowa employers conducting business with Minnesota employees, including remote...
Read More

BrownWinick Attorneys Named to 2024 Best Lawyers® List

08-17-2023 BrownWinick is pleased to announce that 33 lawyers have been included in the 2024 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. BrownWinick would like to congratulate the following attorneys named to the 2024 The Best Lawyers...
Read More

Attorneys Danielle Smid and Margaret Hibbs Promoted to Members

01-19-2021 Two attorneys have recently been promoted to members at BrownWinick. This class of shareholders includes attorneys from the Employment & Corporate Transaction practices. BrownWinick would like to congratulate Dani and Maggie for recently being voted in as members to the firm and for their continued pursuit of excellence in service to our clients....
Read More

Returning Employees to the Workplace? We’ve Got You Covered.

05-28-2020 BrownWinick's Employment Practice Group has prepared a “Return to Work Playbook” to assist employers in returning employees to the workplace during this unusual and unprecedented time. The people contributing to this effort include Megan Moritz and Danielle Smid. The “Return to Work Playbook” (or Playbook) will be used as a tool with attorney...
Read More


Jakkie Guerrero



Iowa State University

B.S., 1995


Drake University Law School

J.D., with honors, 1998


Iowa, 1998;

Wisconsin, 2012


Memberships & Associations

  • Polk County Bar Association
  • Iowa State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
    Member; Labor and Employment Section
  • Polk County Women Attorneys
  • Hope Agency in Des Moines
    Board Member
  • City of Grimes Planning and Zoning Commission