Dorsey & Whitney LLP (or "Dorsey") is a large law firm, with close to 700 lawyers and 850 staff located in 19 offices in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. Its headquarters is in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and has been since its inception. Dorsey is currently led by its managing partner, Marianne D. Short Its lawyers have included several prominent public figures, such as former U.S. Supreme Court justice Harry Blackmun, former Vice President Walter Mondale (who still works there actively), former Governor of Iowa Tom Vilsack, and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar. It also included legal scholar William Prosser, author of the most important legal textbook in American tort law, Prosser On Torts.
Dorsey has close to 700 attorneys and 850 support staff in 19 offices worldwide .
Dorsey has offices in (first-year associate salaries):
- Minneapolis, Minnesota ($120,000)
- New York, New York ($160,000)
- Seattle, Washington ($130,000)
- Denver, Colorado ($130,000)
- Southern California ($145,000)
- Palo Alto, California ($145,000)
- Washington, D.C.
- Wilmington, Delaware
- Anchorage, Alaska ($90,000)
- Des Moines, Iowa ($100,000)
- Fargo, North Dakota ($60,000)
- Missoula, Montana ($55,000)
- Salt Lake City, Utah ($120,000)
Former firm offices no longer in operation include:
Dorsey was founded in 1912 by William Lancaster, a director of First National Bank of Minneapolis (now part of U.S. Bank
), and David Simpson
, a judge on the Minnesota Supreme Court
. The following year, they hired James Dorsey as their first associate. Dorsey left the firm in the 1920s to become an investment banker, but returned to the firm a few years after the 1929 stock market crash
. Dorsey led the firm until his death in 1959. The name of the firm continued to change for most of its history, until it was shortened into its current, permanent name in 1981. Dorsey continues to build on its traditional strengths in corporate law and litigation through a wide range of practice groups.
Recognition and Rankings
- Dorsey earned high rankings in a variety of practice areas from Chambers USA, Chambers UK, and Chambers Europe. Based on thousands of client interviews worldwide, Chambers ranks law attorneys according qualities most valued by clients. Nationally, Dorsey was ranked in the top tier for Native American Law. Dorsey's Minnesota office ranked in the top tier of Corporate, Labor & Employment, Litigation (General and Intellectual Property), and Real Estate categories. In the UK, Dorsey is ranked among the "Best of the UK" in Tax and Corporate, and is highly ranked in Civil Fraud, Litigation, and Dispute Resolution. Its Seattle office ranked in the top tier for Intellectual Property, the fourth tier for Corporate, and the third tier for Litigation in Washington. Its Salt Lake City office ranked in the third tier for Corporate in Utah. Dorsey ranked in the top tier for Corporate, Environmental, Natural Resources, & Rgulated Industries, Labor & Employment, Litigation, and Real Estate in Alaska; the second tier for Corporate in Montana; the top tier for Labor & Employment, and the second tier for Corporate and Litigation in North Dakota.
- Dorsey ranked 7th nationwide in securities litigation cases taken on in 2006.
- Dorsey has completed more merger and acquisition (M&A) deals in the last 10 years than any other law firm, according to Mergers and Acquisitions: The Dealmakers Journal .
- In 2006, Dorsey ranked 3rd among law firms for the number of U.S. M&A deals completed, 9th for the number of global M&A deals completed, and 8th for the number of Canadian M&A deals completed, according to Thomson Financial.
- In 2008, for the 8th consecutive year, Corporate Board Member Magazine named Dorsey as the best corporate law firm in Minneapolis. The magazine bases its rankings on an annual research study which surveys public company corporate officers, directors and in-house attorneys.
- Eight Dorsey partners, including one retired judge, are members of the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL). Membership in the ACTL is by invitation only and is limited to only 1% of total lawyers per state or Canadian province.
- The Dorsey UK tax department was named 2006 “Tax Team of the Year” by Legal Business magazine for a landmark victory in a case before the European Court of Justice.
- In 2007, Dorsey received the perfect rating of 100% on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) fifth annual Corporate Equality Index. The index measures employer performance in ensuring fair and open workplaces for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees and consumers.
- In 2007, Dorsey was named as one of the nation's 50 "Best Law Firms for Women" by Working Mother Magazine.
- According to the BTI Client Service A-Team 2008, Dorsey is the only Twin Cities firm among the Top 30, coming in at 11. Dorsey also ranked "Best of the Best" in advising about business issues.
- In 2008, for the second consecutive year, Dorsey was named a Minnesota Work-Life Champion.
According to Corporate Counsel
, Dorsey has been identified as the Go-To
firm for the following Top 500 companies:
- 3M (Labor, Litigation)
- C.H. Robinson Worldwide (Corporate Transactions, International, Labor, Litigation, Securities)
- Charter Communications (Labor)
- CHS (Corporate Transactions, Securities)
- Dana (Corporate Transactions)
- General Mills (Corporate Transactions, International)
- Hormel Foods (Litigation)
- Mosaic (Corporate Transactions, Labor, Securities)
- SuperValu (Litigation)
- UnitedHealth Group (Labor, Securities)
- Wells Fargo (Labor)
- Xcel Energy (Labor)
Other key clients:
- Mayo Clinic
- Fair Isaac
- Northwest Airlines
- ADC Telecommunications
- Marks & Spencer
Assistance to Guantanamo captives
Joshua Colangelo-Bryan, an attorney with Dorsey & Whitney prepared the habeas corpus petition for the six Bahraini citizens held in extrajudicial detention in the United States Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba.
Juma al Dossari, one of Colangelo-Bryan's clients, made a suicide attempt during Colangelo-Bryan's visit.
Charles "Cully" Stimson, then
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs, stirred controversy when he went on record criticizing the patriotism of law firms that allowed employees to assist Guantanamo captives:
"corporate CEOs seeing this should ask firms to choose between lucrative retainers and representing terrorists."
Stimson's views were widely criticized. The Pentagon disavowed them. And he resigned shortly thereafter.