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Elizabeth H. Schmiesing

p (612) 604-6528   f (612) 604-6928 
University of Chicago Law School, J.D., with honors, 1992
University of Wisconsin, B.S., Zoology, with honors, 1988
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Betsy Schmiesing is a shareholder in the Regulatory and Environmental Law practices at Winthrop & Weinstine. Betsy brings extensive knowledge of environmental, energy and healthcare law, along with client-side experience and perspective stemming from her years of practice as an in-house attorney at one of the country’s largest companies.      

Significant projects and industrial processes often involve a host of environmental and other regulatory obstacles and issues. Betsy is skilled at navigating the challenges arising from these issues and in resolving the conflicts – either through negotiation or contested proceedings – that often arise. Betsy has successfully handled matters ranging from the collaborative to the contentious at the federal and state level, including matters before an array of regulatory agencies including the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC), Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA).        

Betsy’s pragmatic approach to advocacy, as well as her insights into the priorities and needs of corporate clients, have enabled her to successfully handle a variety of matters, including:
  • Permitting of expanded silica sand mine in southern Minnesota;
  • Permitting of two petroleum pipelines in northern Minnesota;
  • Successful defense of Minnesota Environmental Rights Act (“MERA”) and Minnesota Environmental Policy Act (“MEPA”) litigation over pipeline environmental review;
  • Permitting of Tribal wastewater treatment plant;
  • Successful defense of permit challenge to new corporate headquarters at both the agency and appellate court level;
  • Representation of large retailer before the USEPA; and
  • Opinion and due diligence work on development and energy projects.
Healthcare is one of the most quickly evolving and challenging legal areas of our time. Before joining the firm, Betsy served as an in-house attorney at Optum, where she specialized in litigation and risk management.  While at Optum, and previously in private practice, Betsy handled numerous matters, including:
  • Litigation over physician agreements with hospitals;
  • False Claims Act litigation involving a large Minnesota hospital system;
  • False Claims Act litigation involving alleged improper coding by emergency room physicians;
  • Provider reimbursement disputes under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), including class actions; and 
  • Numerous customer disputes resolved through negotiation or mediation.
Betsy is the past chair of the Minnesota State Bar Association Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section. Currently, Betsy serves as a Board Member of Great River Greening and as a volunteer attorney for the Children’s Law Center of Minnesota. She is an avid, but not always victorious, tennis player and lives in Southwest Minneapolis with her family. 

Bar Admissions
Minnesota, 1992
Supreme Court of Minnesota, 1992
U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, 1994
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, 1995
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, 1998
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, 1998
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, 1999
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, 2006

  • Minnesota State Bar Association 
    • Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section, Past Chair
  • Great River Greening, board member
  • Children’s Law Center of Minnesota, volunteer attorney
  • University of St. Thomas Law School, adjunct professor, Environmental Law, 2010-2011
  • University of Minnesota, adjunct professor, Environmental Law Moot Court, 2006-2009       
Honors & Awards
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Environmental Law, 2005–2011 
  • Super Lawyers, Environmental, 2008–2011
    • Top 100 Women Lawyers in Minnesota, 2008
  • Minnesota Justice Foundation Private Practice Award, 2008

Articles & Presentations
Co-speaker. "5 Practical Pointers for Pre-Litigation Dispute and Settlement Advising." Dispute Resolution for In-House Counsel.  Minnesota CLE. 6 Dec. 2017.

Speaker. "Environmental Law's Intersection with Real Estate and Corporate Matters." Environmental Law 101 – Wetlands, Endangered Species & Cross-Practice Issues. Minnesota CLE. Seminar. 20 July 2017.

Panelist. "Brownfield Real Estate Game Theory: How Deals get Done." Brownfields Redevelopment Summit. Minnesota Real Estate Journal. 25 May 2017.

Moderator. "Environmental Lawyers in the House: Three Perspectives." 2017 Environmental Institute. Minnesota CLE. 20 April 2017.

Author. “The Minnesota Citizen’s Personal Protection Act: Reform or Advocacy?William Mitchell L. Rev., Vol. 33, 415. 2006.

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