Skip to content

All faculty

Betsy Miller

Lecturer on Law

Fall 2024

Betsy Miller
Download image

Betsy A. Miller is a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, where she teaches leadership development, change management and negotiation skills. Ms. Miller’s research and writing focus on Polarities (“Both/And” thinking), which is the study of opposite forces that need each other to succeed. Some examples include Stability/Change; Flexibility/Structure; Freedom/Accountability; and Justice/Mercy. The Harvard Negotiation Law Review recently published Ms. Miller’s Polarities article, “BOTH: The Legal Profession’s Struggle to Leverage Stability and Change.” 

Ms. Miller’s 25-year career has spanned positions in federal and local government, defense and plaintiff law firms, and academia. These experiences have underscored the importance of integrating multiple perspectives to achieve an optimal outcome. Through 2023, Ms. Miller was Chair of Cohen Milstein’s’ Public Client practice, where she represented state Attorneys General as their lead outside counsel in investigations and litigation involving large-scale consumer fraud and privacy violations. She has built a reputation for deftly guiding some of the country’s highest profile government investigations and landmark settlements. Ms. Miller was lead outside counsel for several state Attorneys General in the national opioid litigation that delivered more $25 billion in relief, and she co-led negotiations in the $2.2 billion resolution of federal and state litigation against the largest credit rating agencies for their misconduct in connection with mortgage-backed securities. Prior to Cohen Milstein, Ms. Miller served as the Chief of Staff and Senior Counsel to the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, as a litigator at Jones Day, and as a Nominations Counsel to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary. 

Ms. Miller has been privileged to receive broad professional recognition from her peers. She was the 2021 recipient of the Givens Visionary Award from The National Law Journal, “honoring a member of the bar who has shown extraordinary creativity in bringing the legal industry together, developing new opportunities for growth, and supporting the professional development of attorneys across the country.” Harvard Law School awarded Ms. Miller with a Wasserstein Fellowship, a program that “recognizes exemplary lawyers who have distinguished themselves in public interest work” and invites them to campus to mentor the next generation public-service lawyers. In 2023, the President of the American Bar Association named Ms. Miller a Special Advisor to the Commission on Women in the Profession. Other accolades include annual recognition on Lawdragon’s list of “500 Leading Lawyers in America,” The Trial Lawyer’s roster of America’s “50 Most Influential Trial Lawyers,” and The National Law Journal’s inaugural list of just nine women in the nation whom it identified as the “Elite Women of the Plaintiffs’ Bar.”

Ms. Miller’s legal career has been augmented by her work in leadership coaching, facilitation, and change management. She has authored numerous articles on leadership and cultural change, including The National Law Journal’s series on Leadership in the Law. Additional publications include: “Rainmaking and Leadership Are Divorced and the Law Firm Is Not Alright”; “Leadership and the Law: How to Fix a Puzzling Quirk“; “Meetings Matter. Make them Better“; “How to Flip the Script on the Annual Review Process“; and “The New Language Needed to Connect Professionally Right Now.” She is a regular commentator on leadership in the legal profession for Thomson Reuters, The American Lawyer,, and The National Law Journal. 

Ms. Miller earned her A.B. from Dartmouth College in Comparative Literature (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa), her J.D. from Harvard Law School, and certificates in Leadership Coaching and Navigating Polarities from Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership. 

Representative Publications



  • J.D. Harvard Law School, 1999
  • A.B. (magna cum laude) Comparative Literature (Psychoanalytic theory and Spanish) Dartmouth College, 1996


  • Hon. Thomas Penfield Jackson, United States District Court for the District of Columbia, 1999 - 2000