Dianna Cannon: Changing People’s Lives

Dianna Cannon
2024 Feature Nominations

Dianna Cannon didn’t think she wanted to become an attorney, because she saw how hard her attorney father worked—then she went to watch one of his trials.

“I loved it,” she says. “I knew then that’s what I wanted to do. I was fascinated by how he weaved a story and knew that was for me.”


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Fast-forward to today, Cannon has been practicing Social Security Disability Law for more than 25 years.

“I help people get their Social Security Disability benefits,” she explains. “I handle Veteran’s Disability cases and Black Lung Disability claims as well. But mostly, I handle Social Security Disability cases.”


Cannon loves knowing she’s making a difference in someone’s life. While the cases always vary, one recent case involved a client who was living in his truck. She won him disability benefits and now he has a home.


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Another recent case involved a woman who needed a kidney transplant, but she didn’t have the money or insurance to afford the operation. Cannon was able to secure benefits for the woman, which means she will be able to have her life-saving surgery.

“Things like that happen every day,” Cannon explains. “We win benefits for people who have cancer or Multiple Sclerosis and then they are able to continue to support their families. It’s usually people who have worked their entire lives and who are entitled to the benefits, and for some reason the government is denying those benefits. We love to fight for them.”

Cannon spent a few years early in her career practicing corporate law, but found she preferred to work directly with people, rather than for corporations.

“I’m not against corporate law, but it wasn’t much fun. I love talking to the clients and hearing their stories and seeing if I can help them. When we win benefits for our clients it makes a huge difference in their quality of life and in their medical care. We are really making a difference for somebody—prolonging their life, making their life easier, helping them so they’re not homeless, making it so they can take care of their kids. It has real impact. That’s why I love it,” she says.


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During the time Cannon was in law school at the University of Utah, she worked for the first female attorney who practiced Social Security Disability law in Utah.

“Working for her made me love this area of law,” she explains. “She taught me that you can do whatever you put your mind to. There were no other women in my field of law at the time, but she taught me not to worry about that and do my best.”

Her mentor ended up leaving Salt Lake and selling Cannon her practice to run and grow.

Cannon Disability Law officially launched 25 years ago and Cannon believes it is the oldest firm handling Social Security Disability law in Salt Lake City. The firm has won over 12,000 disability cases. The firm also practices in Nevada, California and Idaho, and today has 15 employees.


Those who work at Cannon Disability Law pride themselves on their customer service, going above and beyond to help the client as quickly and effectively as possible.

“We try really hard to have good customer service, to let our clients know we care about them and their case,” Cannon says. “We win the majority of our cases and that is because we work hard and we work with our clients.”

“I always say to my clients that I’m not the greatest attorney that ever lived, I’m only as good as the evidence—so let’s build the evidence while we have a chance. And that’s what we’re good at—building a winnable case.”


Cannon is also good at giving back, making it a point to contribute to the community every year. The firm typically holds a food drive, as well as a clothing drive, for the Utah Food Bank or for The Road Home.

Cannon also teaches Disability Law at the University of Utah and is on the board of the S.J. Quinney College of Law.

“Giving back is important to me,” she says. “I think it’s important when you reach a certain point in your profession, if you have extra time, to do volunteer work that can help other people, whether it be on a board or by joining an organization. Give back in some way.”

Whether volunteering in the community or helping clients through her firm, Cannon is always striving to help.

“I love my clients,” she says. “I love people and their stories. It is always interesting. My favorite part of my job is feeling like I’m making a difference in my client’s lives.”

Michelle Glicksman

Michelle Glicksman is a staff writer. She has been contributing to the magazine for more than three years.

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