Betsy (Colleen) Popken

Special Counsel

San Francisco

As co-leader of Orrick’s global Business & Human Rights practice, Betsy helps clients navigate the legal, business, and reputational risks of their biggest human rights challenges. With strong ties to the human rights community, and expertise in international human rights law, ESG, responsible/ethical tech and innovation, the SDGs, and CSR, Betsy works with clients to develop an approach that considers peer benchmarking but is tailored to their individual needs. She has a particular passion for tackling human rights issues raised by emerging technologies and serves as co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Responsible Use of Technology Learning & Education Initiative.

Betsy first honed her ability to balance high-stakes and complex legal and ethical challenges while advising parties involved in international peace negotiations in Darfur and Syria through the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG), founding PILPG’s Istanbul office during the Geneva III peace talks. Today, she provides strategic direction by co-leading PILPG’s Peace Negotiation Initiative and serving as Peacebuilding League Advisor to The Shaikh Group.  Betsy trains the next generation of negotiators as a Lecturer in Law at Stanford Law School, and maintains a tight foreign policy network as a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

In her global white collar practice, Betsy applies the same delicate approach to help clients avoid or calm a public outcry.

Prior to joining Orrick, Betsy worked for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Pacific Council on International Policy, and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.

  • A representative selection of Betsy's client work includes:

    • Advise global technology company in connection with class action stemming from alleged human rights violations in their supply chain
    • Advised asset management company on formation of ESG procedures
    • Advised content management platform company on hate group policy
    • Advised international human rights body on the normative standards guiding companies whose technologies are abused in conflict
    • Drafted human rights policy for a consumer telecommunications company
    • Advised AI company on AI ethics policy
    • Advised global manufacturer on CA Transparency in Supply Chains Act
    • Conducted human rights impact assessment and developed stakeholder engagement plan for social impact start-up
    • Advised social media company on matters implicating international human rights law and international criminal law
    • Represented former technology company CEO in a range of civil matters and potential government investigations
    • Conducted internal investigations in China and Argentina for a global retail company involving Foreign Corrupt Practices Act allegations
    • Assessed compliance issues in Mexico as part of Monitorship team