Diane Aqui


Diane Aqui leads the Labor & Employment Division at Smith Dollar. She represents employers before numerous federal and state administrative agencies such as the National Labor Relations Board, Workers Compensation Appeals Board, Labor Commissioner, Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Unemployment Appeals Board and Cal-OSHA.

She is general counsel to many local businesses and negotiates collective bargaining agreements on behalf of management. In addition to her J.D., Ms. Aqui holds a Bachelor of Engineering Degree in Marine Engineering from Maritime College, Fort Schuyler, New York and was also a licensed Third Assistant Engineer in the United States Coast Guard. Her background as a Safety Engineer with insurance companies and state agencies performing risk evaluations and safety inspections of power plants, processing facilities and mechanical and electrical equipment lends a unique real-world perspective to managing the risks employers face in today's business climate, particularly in the areas of discrimination, harassment, employment and business issues.

Ms. Aqui counsels employers regarding employee-related issues and provides state-mandated training for sexual harassment and bullying. She has successfully defended discrimination and class action wage and hour suits in both State and Federal Court.

Ms. Aqui graduated as valedictorian of her law school and was the recipient of numerous Witkin and American Jurisprudence Awards. She is a member of Sonoma County Women in Law and volunteers with Legal Aid of Sonoma County and other local community organizations.

Diane Aqui is recognized by peers and was selected to Super Lawyers for 2022 and 2023.  This selection is based off of an evaluation of 12 indicators including peer recognition and professional achievement in legal practice. Being selected to Super Lawyers is limited to a small number of attorneys in each state. As one of the few attorneys to garner the distinction of Super Lawyers, Diane Aqui has earned the respect of peers as one of the top-rated attorneys in the nation.

She is admitted to practice before all state courts within California, in addition to the Eastern and Northern District Courts, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.


  • The State University of New York at Maritime College, Bachelor of Engineering in Marine Engineering, 1986
  • Empire College School of Law, 2001

Bar Admissions

  • All California State Courts including CA Supreme Court
  • United States District Court, Northern District of California
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of California
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • District of Columbia, Court of Appeals

Associations & Memberships

  • Sonoma County Bar Association
  • Sonoma County Women in Law


  • Valedictorian, Empire College School of Law, May 2001
  • Women In Business Award 2019

Published Cases

  • Watson vs. Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, 2007 US Dist. LEXIS 77131 (E.D. Cal. Oct. 17, 2007)
  • Carman vs. Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, 535 F. Supp. 2d 1039 (E.D.Cal. 2008)
  • NeilMed Products, Inc., 358 NLRB 8 (2012)
  • Scoma’s of Sausalito, LLC, 362 NLRB 174 (2015)

A Law Firm Recognized For Excellence

  • Rated by Super Lawyers
  • Top 100 - The National Trial Lawyers
  • AV Preeminent Award from Martindale Hubbell
  • Certified WBENC
  • Women In Business Award by North Bay Business Journal
  • Top Places to Work by North Bay Business Journal
  • Sonoma County Women In Law
  • Sonoma County Bar Association
  • State Bar of California
  • North Coast Builders Exchange
  • Northern California Engineering Contractors Association

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