Based on Herbert J. Miller, Jr.’s Oral History for the D.C. Circuit Historical Society
Jack Miller was born and raised in Minnesota, served in the Army during World War Two, and received his law degree from George Washington University in 1949. He became an associate with the small Washington office of a large Chicago firm, now known as Kirkland & Ellis. His practice was primarily litigation on behalf of a variety of clients, including one of Washington’s major newspapers.
In 1959, now a partner, he was asked to represent a three-person Board of Monitors appointed by the U.S. District Court in Washington. The Board’s mission
was to supervise the administration of a consent decree agreed to by the Teamsters labor union and some dissident members who had tried unsuccessfully to replace James Hoffa as its leader.
His work on this assignment changed his life and legal career in an amazing manner. Consider this:
In January 1961, Jack Miller (an active Republican) was asked by Attorney General Robert Kennedy to be the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division at the Department of Justice.
For the next four years Jack Miller actively supervised the Criminal Division’s largely successful effort to prosecute the illegal activities of the Teamsters Union and the criminal organization known as Cosa Nostra.
In early 1965, Jack Miller left Justice and founded his own litigation firm– Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin. Over the next four decades the firm became known as one of the best “go-to” firms in Washington for high stakes litigation or negotiations involving Congress or the Executive Branch.
During the summer of 1965, Jack Miller served as the chairman of the President’s Commission on Crime in the District of Columbia. After sixteen months, the Commission produced for the District of Columbia the first comprehensive analysis of its criminal justice system – the police, prosecutors, courts, probation, incarceration, juvenile delinquency, and welfare. The Commission’s recommendations were generally approved and stimulated many substantial improvements over the next few years.
During the 1970s and later, Jack Miller’s practice became one of the most diverse in Washington, DC. He advised Senator Edward Kennedy and other members of the Kennedy family. In 1974 former President Nixon hired Jack Miller to represent him on several matters. Two of these questions – involving the constitutionality of a law authorizing the federal government’s seizure of President Nixon’s papers and his immunity from any civil actions involving actions he took as president – were determined by the Supreme Court in cases argued by Jack. Not all of his clients were so well-known, and a good number of them did not want anyone to know that they had a need to seek Jack Miller’s advice.
What was it about Jack Miller that led to such a career?
From my years of experience with Jack Miller and as a result of taking his oral history, I would emphasize the following. First, he always was confident that he could do the job, whatever it might be. Second, he relished the opportunity to examine the legal issues in a new assignment and find some unique way to advance his client’s position. Third, he was intensely loyal to his clients and committed to preserve the confidentiality of their relationship. Fourth, his open and friendly personality invited both clients and opposing lawyers to be confident in their relationships with him. And lastly, he was terrific in dealing with younger lawyers and giving them the opportunity to grow and prosper. I know, because I was one of those younger lawyers.
So, read the interview, and make your own judgments about this outstanding Washington lawyer.
University of Minnesota, 1941-1943
(withdrew to enter military service)
B.A., George Washington University, 1948
LL.B., George Washington University, 1949
Editorial Staff, George Washington Law Review
U.S. Army in 1943, served in New Guinea, Philippines and Japan.
Discharged with the rank of Captain, 1946
Began practice of law as Associate of Kirkland, Fleming, Green, Martin & Ellis (now Kirkland & Ellis) and became a partner in 1958.
Appointed by President Kennedy to be Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, of the Department of Justice, confirmed by the Senate in February 1961. Responsible for the supervision of the enforcement of all Federal criminal laws with the principal exception of antitrust and tax.
In April 1965, founded Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewis, Washington, D.C.
In July 1965, appointed by President Johnson to be Chairman of the President’s Commission on Crime for the District of Columbia.
Chairman of the Criminal Law and Procedures Committee of the Bar Association for the District of Columbia, Director 1967; Vice President 1969
President of the Bar Association of the District of Columbia 1970-1971
Chairman, Judicial Selection Committee for the Bar Association of the District of Columbia 1972-73
Chairman of the Panel on Control and Enforcement, White House Conference on Narcotics, September 27-28, 1962. Liaison representative during 1963 for the Department of Justice on The President’s Advisory Commission on Narcotic and Drug Abuse.
Acting Chief Delegate at the Third Inter-American Convention of Attorneys General, Mexico City, July 12-21, 1963
Chief Delegate at the Third Meeting of Ministers of Government of Interior and Security of the Central American Countries, Panama and the United States, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, September 1-3, 1964
Chairman of panel at the National Conference on Bail and Criminal Justice, Washington, D.C., May 27-28, 1964
Chief Delegate of the Fourth Meeting of Ministers of Government of Interior and Security of the Central American Countries, Guatemala City, Guatemala, January 26-30, 1965
Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University Law Center, 1975
Recipient of the Bar Association for the District of Columbia’s 1994 “Lawyer of the Year” Award
Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules for the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States, 1983-1989
Committee on Grievances for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, 1983 to March 1989; appointed Chairman of the Committee on Grievances in 1985
American College of Trial Lawyers
District of Columbia Bar; Bar Association for the District of Columbia; American Bar Association