In loving memory of Charlie, our beloved colleague, fierce client advocate, and pillar in the community
207 228-7218 direct
207 774-1200 main
207 774-1127 facsimile
100 Middle Street
PO Box 9729
Portland, ME 04104-5029
Diversity & Inclusion Committee
Pro Bono Committee
- The Best Lawyers in America ® 2021
Real Estate Law
- Chambers USA (2003-2017)
- Super Lawyers
- AV Preeminent® – Martindale-Hubbell
- 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in Real Estate Law by the American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell
- The Chesley H. Husson Award for Leadership, Husson University
- The Edmund S. Muskie “Access to Justice” Award (Co-recipient)
- American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence, University of Maine School of Law
On August 4, 2023, the world lost a bright light. Our beloved Charles “Charlie” Miller passed away after a brief illness, surrounded by his family.
To his colleagues at Bernstein Shur, Charlie was family, too. For more than four decades, Charlie’s one-of-a-kind fabric of a human being was woven into the Bernstein Shur culture.
As an attorney, Charlie was stellar—accomplished for his expertise in real estate and business law with a client loyalty that spanned decades. Over many years, Charlie was recognized in national, prestigious lawyer rankings including Chambers USA, Super Lawyers, and Best Lawyers in America, and rated AV by Martindale Hubbel.
In addition to his legal acumen, Charlie was tenacious, with a unique charm, a keen business sense, and a knack for understanding people, and he used his gifts to find solutions for his clients. Charlie was the type of person who would never leave for the day without returning a call. Everyone—from clients to colleagues—felt well taken care of by Charlie.
As a colleague and a leader, we remember Charlie walking the floors of 100 Middle Street, always wearing a smile. We will remember his office door covered with photographs of his grandchildren, inviting a conversation about the importance of family.
We will remember Charlie’s talent in firm talent shows, playing guitar, acting, and singing, and generally reminding us of how important it is to share joy.
Charlie was a mentor and a trailblazer. He cared deeply about advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession, in Maine and beyond. At our firm, Charlie started the Diversity Committee as a commitment to the core values of our firm’s founding attorneys. He served as International Co-Chair of the Lex Mundi International Women’s Initiative Leadership Advancement Task Force.
He cared deeply about people, and when he was elected Chief Executive Officer, Charlie successfully led our firm for a decade. He held firm-wide coffee chats to bring colleagues together, intentionally identified rising stars to serve in leadership roles, and ensured attorneys nearing retirement had adequate retirement/continuation plans. When he stepped down as CEO, Charlie was most looking forward to mentoring junior associates and serving as a firm emissary to civic organizations.
And serve he did.
Charlie gave his expertise, leadership, and wisdom to civic, legal, environmental, and religious institutions that he cared about deeply.
Charlie embodied “tikkun olam,” which in Hebrew means to help repair the world.
Faith was important to Charlie, and he was an immensely respected leader in Maine’s Jewish community, serving as president of Temple Beth El and the Jewish Community Alliance, and as the vice chair of Southern Maine Hillel, among many other roles. Every weekend, Charlie sang and played guitar for children at Temple.
Charlie was dedicated to using his legal expertise for good. He believed every person deserved access to justice. He devoted countless of hours to pro bono legal services over the course of his career and volunteered to support the missions of Pine Tree Legal Assistance, the Frank M. Coffin Family Law Fellowship, and the Muskie Fund for Legal Services.
His devotion to community went deeper still. Charlie volunteered in leadership roles at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, the University of Maine School of Law, the American Bar Association, the Maine Bar Association, and the Cumberland County Bar Association.
The energy Charlie had for life was and remains an inspiration for us all. In addition to his illustrious legal and community commitments and accomplishments, Charlie and his wife, Ellie, built a wonderful life and family, with three children and six grandchildren.
Charlie touched the lives of thousands throughout his life. We will all miss him deeply, and we will carry on his enduring legacy by remembering to lead with joy and to serve others.
Read Charlie’s obituary here.
Read the Portland Press Herald feature on Charlie here.
Read the Mainebiz tribute to Charlie here.
JD, University of Maine School of Law, 1979, cum laude
Managing editor, Maine Law Review
EdM, University of Maine, 1973
BA, Colby College, 1969
Admitted to practice
State of Maine
US District Court, District of Maine
US Court of Appeals, First Circuit
Maine State Bar Association
American Bar Association
Cumberland County Bar Association
Temple Beth El (Past President; Endowment Chair; Investment Committee Co-Chair)
Maine Bar Foundation (Past Director; Coffin Fellowship Advisory Committee Co-Chair)
Jewish Community Alliance (Past President; Demographic Study Committee Chair; Past Chair, Annual Federation Campaign; Strategic Planning Committee)
Pine Tree Legal Assistance, Inc (Endowment Committee Co-Chair)
Friends of Pine Tree Legal Assistance Committee
Gulf of Maine Research Institute (Director (current), and Chairman of the Board) (2016-2019)
Muskie Fund for Legal Justice (Director)
Lex Mundi International Women’s Initiative Leadership Advancement Task Force (Past International Co-Chair) (2008-2014)
Managing Partners Committee (Past North American Regional Vice Chair) (2008-2014)
Southern Maine Hillel (Vice Chair – Advisory Board)
University of Maine School of Law (Board of Visitors)