Dorsey & Whitney

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Dorsey & Whitney LLP
DSW-Logo black 2U.jpg
Headquarters 50 South Sixth
Minneapolis, MN (largest office)
No. of offices 19
No. of attorneys 530
Major practice areas General Practice
Revenue Green Arrow Up.svg $338.5 million USD (2014)
Date founded 1912
Founder William Lancaster, David Simpson
Company type Limited liability partnership

Dorsey & Whitney LLP (or "Dorsey") is a large law firm, with over 500 lawyers and a similar number of staff located in 19 offices in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. Dorsey's headquarters is in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Dorsey is currently led by managing partner Ken Cutler, who took the reins in 2012. 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,[1] and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar.[2] It also included legal scholar William Prosser.[3][4] Dorsey recorded its most profitable year ever in 2014.[5]


As of 2013, Dorsey employs approximately 550 lawyers spread across 19 offices worldwide.

Dorsey has offices in (first-year associate salaries where available):[6]


Dorsey's offices at 50 S. 6th St., Minneapolis, MN




Closed offices[edit]

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.

The firm has also endowed the Dorsey and Whitney Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School.

Recognition and Rankings[edit]

  • Dorsey earned high rankings in a variety of practice areas from Chambers USA,[8] Chambers UK,[9] and Chambers Global.[10] 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, & Regulated 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.[11]
  • 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.[12]
  • 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.[13]
  • In 2008, for the 8th consecutive year, Corporate Board Member Magazine named Dorsey as the best corporate law firm in Minneapolis.[14] 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).[15] 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.[16]
  • In 2007, Dorsey received the perfect rating of 100% on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) fifth annual Corporate Equality Index.[17] 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.[18]
  • 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.[19]
  • In 2008, for the second consecutive year, Dorsey was named a Minnesota Work-Life Champion.[20]

Key Clients[edit]

According to Corporate Counsel, Dorsey has been identified as the Go-To firm for the following Top 500 companies:[21]

Other key clients:

Assistance to Guantanamo captives[edit]

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.[22] Juma al Dossari, one of Colangelo-Bryan's clients, made a suicide attempt during Colangelo-Bryan's visit.[23][24][25][26]

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." [27] Stimson's views were widely criticized. The Pentagon disavowed them and he resigned shortly thereafter.


  1. ^ Larry Splett, Former Iowa Governor Thomas J. Vilsack Joins Dorsey & Whitney, April 12, 2007.
  2. ^ Cillizza, Chris (2006-04-14). "Washington Post: The Friday Line: Senate Gains Still Looking Certain For Dems". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2006-05-16. Retrieved 2006-05-10. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Christopher J. Robinette, The Prosser Notebook: Classroom As Biography and Intellectual History, 2010 U. Ill. L. Rev. 577, 583 (2010)
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Legal Week: Dorsey Eyes Sydney Launch to Buoy Asia Push
  8. ^ Chambers USA - Ranked Dorsey Lawyers
  9. ^ Chambers UK - Ranked Dorsey Lawyers
  10. ^ Chambers Global - Ranked Dorsey Lawyers
  11. ^ View the Rankings
  12. ^ View the Rankings
  13. ^ Thomson Financial Legal Advisors M&A Review
  14. ^ Corporate Board Member Magazine - Best Corporate Law Firms in Minneapolis
  15. ^ Dorsey: Fast Facts
  16. ^ Dorsey Wins the Legal Business Magazine's United Kingdom "Tax Team of the Year" Award
  17. ^ HRC "Best Places to Work"
  18. ^
  19. ^ Star Tribune Article
  20. ^
  21. ^ Corporate Counsel: Search "Dorsey"
  22. ^ "Guantanamo Plea Filed in US Court by Dorsey's Joshua Colangelo-Bryan". Dorsey & Whitney. July 26, 2004. Retrieved 2008-01-19. [dead link]
  23. ^ Kanwal Hameed (October 20, 2005). "Sex torture claim by Bay prisoner". Gulf Daily News. Retrieved 2007-07-16. 
  24. ^ Josh White (November 1, 2005). "Guantanamo Desperation Seen in Suicide Attempts: One Incident Was During Lawyer's Visit". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-07-16. 
  25. ^ Kanwal Hameed (November 8, 2005). "Move to protect Bay detainee". Gulf Daily News. Retrieved 2007-07-16. 
  26. ^ Jane Sutton (June 11, 2006). "Dozens have attempted suicide at Guantanamo". The Scotsman. Retrieved 2007-07-16.  Archived October 19, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  27. ^ Lewis, Neil (2007-01-13). "Official attacks top law firms over detainees". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-01-17. 

External links[edit]