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

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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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EEOC Provides Guidance on Employers Using AI in the Workplace

05-24-2023 The convenience and efficiency of utilizing Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) to hire employees, observe performance, and make decisions about pay and promotion opportunities could run your business into issues with Title VII, if the employer does not have sufficient oversight measures in place to monitor these tools effects. On May 18, 2023, the...
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NLRB Returns to Previous Precedent for Employee Severance Agreements

03-30-2023 On February 21, 2023, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a decision in McLaren Macomb, returning to previous precedent holding that employers may not offer employees severance agreements that require employees to broadly waive their rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The decision involved severance agreements...
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Employee Retention During the Great Resignation

08-19-2022 In late 2020 and early 2021, employees began voluntarily exiting their jobs at unprecedented numbers in what has been coined “The Great Resignation,” “The Big Quit,” and “The Great Reshuffle.” In 2021, a record average of 4 million workers quit their job each month, surpassing the 3.5 million record set in 2019. This phenomenon has left employers...
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Addressing Burnout in the Workplace

08-5-2022 Workplace burnout has become a significant concern in recent years. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the working world’s expectations on how to prevent and address workplace burnout. The flexibility of working from home and employees reassessing their idea of a work-life balance has left employers that are unwilling to adapt, in the dust. The...
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Rights as a Transgender Person in the Workplace

06-22-2022 It is not always clear what rights you have in the workplace as an employee. This task becomes more challenging when your rights have been a topic of controversy in the media. To provide clarity on this matter, we have provided explanations for the workplace rights transgender people have in Iowa. The Iowa Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination...
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Vaccinations in the Workplace

08-12-2021 As the COVID-19 Delta variant spreads, many employers are becoming increasingly concerned about the health and safety of their workforce and have again begun looking toward additional safety measures to combat COVID-19 in the workplace. Such measures include but are not limited to mandatory vaccinations (showing proof of their vaccination status)...
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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...
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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....
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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...
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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