Dorsey & Whitney
|Headquarters||50 South Sixth|
Minneapolis, MN (largest office)
|No. of offices||20|
|No. of attorneys||589|
|Major practice areas||General Practice|
|Revenue||$337.3 million USD (2017)|
|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 20 offices in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. Dorsey's headquarters is in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Dorsey is currently led by managing partner William R. Stoeri, who took the reins in 2019. 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. Dorsey recorded its most profitable year ever in 2014.
As of 2018, Dorsey employs approximately 575 lawyers spread across 19 offices worldwide.
Dorsey has offices in (first-year associate salaries where available):
- Minneapolis, Minnesota (140,000)
- New York, New York (180,000)
- Seattle, Washington (155,000)
- Denver, Colorado (140,000)
- Southern California
- Palo Alto, California
- Washington, D.C.
- Wilmington, Delaware
- Anchorage, Alaska
- Des Moines, Iowa
- Missoula, Montana
- Salt Lake City, Utah (125,000)
- Dallas, Texas (180,000)
Former firm offices no longer in operation include:
- Billings, Montana, United States
- Great Falls, Montana, United States
- San Francisco, California, United States
- Northern Virginia
- Brussels, Belgium
- Paris, France
- Tokyo, Japan
- Sydney, Australia 
- Cambridge, England
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
- Dorsey earned high rankings in a variety of practice areas from Chambers USA, Chambers UK, and Chambers Global. Chambers surveys and interviews clients and lawyers to determine which firms and attorneys are considered leaders in their field. Rankings assess key qualities in the legal field, including technical legal ability, professional conduct, client service, commercial astuteness, diligence and commitment. In 2017, 54 of Dorsey's U.S.-based lawyers and 21 of its practices across nine of its U.S. offices were ranked by Chambers and Partners in its annual survey, Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2017. In addition to the practices in nine Dorsey offices that were ranked at the state level, the Firm’s Native American Law practice was ranked on the national level. In the UK, Dorsey was ranked in the practice areas of Corporate/M&A: Lower Mid-Market (tier two) and Capital Markets: AIM (tier four). Six individual attorneys in the UK were also ranked by Chambers UK in 2017.
- Dorsey was recognized as an AMLaw 100 firm by The American Lawyer Magazine from 2003 to 2016.
- In 2017 Dorsey was ranked 37 out of 200 highest grossing law firms in the US in AmLaw Pro Bono.
- In 2019, 123 Dorsey lawyers from 14 US-based offices were ranked by Best Lawyers. Best Lawyers rankings are based on an exhaustive annual peer-review survey where attorneys cast votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in the same and related specialties.
- U.S. News Best Lawyers 2018 ranked Dorsey as Top M&A Law Firm in the U.S.
- U.S. News Best Lawyers 2018 ranked Dorsey as the Trademark Law Firm of the Year
- In 2016, Dorsey was given the "Client Choice - Corporate Governance Law" Award by Legals Finest.
- In 2018, 22 practice areas were ranked Nationally by U.S. News "Best Law Firms". Of those 22 practice areas, nine Dorsey practices were ranked national tier 1, the highest ranking available. Another 13 of the Firm’s practice areas were nationally ranked as tier 2 and 3. Thirteen of the Firm’s U.S. offices were ranked in at least one practice area in the metropolitan rankings, with a total of 110 Dorsey metropolitan practice areas recognized across the nation.
- In 2018 Dorsey was named by Working Mother magazine as one of the 2018 “Best Law Firms for Women,” in recognition of using best practices in retaining and promoting women lawyers. The annual list recognizes 50 U.S. law firms for their policies in the advancement of women and for the implementation of work-life balance initiatives. 2018 is the eleventh year Dorsey has been recognized.
- Dorsey was named "Trademark Law Firm of the Year" in 2017 by U.S. News Best Law Firms.
- in 2017 Dorsey was named Cross Border M&A Law Firm of the Year in Hong Kong by Global Law Experts.
- Dorsey was named "Litigation Law Firm of the Year in England", "Corporate Governance Law Firm of the Year in Minnesota", Health Care Law Firm of the Year in Iowa", "Employment Law Firm of the Year in North Dakota", and Cross Border M&A Law Firm of the Year in Hong Kong" in 2017 by Global Law Experts. One legal expert is named in each key practice area and country.
- Dorsey has been named Top 25 in U.S. M&A Deals Completed by Thomson Reuters for 24 consecutive years.
- For the 12th consecutive year, Dorsey scored a 100% on the Corporate Equality Index with Human Rights Campaign 2018.
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:
- ADC Telecommunications
- Fair Isaac
- Marks & Spencer
- Mayo Clinic
- Northwest Airlines
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.
- Larry Splett, Former Iowa Governor Thomas J. Vilsack Joins Dorsey & Whitney Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine, April 12, 2007.
- Cillizza, Chris (2006-04-14). "The 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.
- Christopher J. Robinette, The Prosser Notebook: Classroom As Biography and Intellectual History, 2010 U. Ill. L. Rev. 577, 583 (2010)
- "The Am Law 100, the Early Numbers: Dorsey & Whitney Records Most Profitable Year - The American Lawyer".
- "dorsey.com" (PDF).
- "Legal Week: Dorsey Eyes Sydney Launch to Buoy Asia Push".[permanent dead link]
- "Dorsey & Whitney LLP - Minneapolis - Law Firm Profile - Chambers USA Guide 2017 - Chambers and Partners". www.chambersandpartners.com.
- "Dorsey & Whitney - London - Law Firm Profile - UK Guide, 2018 - Chambers and Partners". www.chambersandpartners.com.
- Chambers Global - Ranked Dorsey Lawyers Archived 2012-07-29 at Archive.today
- "Rankings | The American Lawyer". The American Lawyer. Retrieved 2017-12-27.
- "Best Lawyers ® - Purely Peer Review ™". www.bestlawyers.com. Retrieved 2017-12-27.
- Corporate Counsel: Search "Dorsey"
- "Guantanamo Plea Filed in US Court by Dorsey's Joshua Colangelo-Bryan". Dorsey & Whitney. July 26, 2004. Retrieved 2008-01-19.[dead link]
- Kanwal Hameed (October 20, 2005). "Sex torture claim by Bay prisoner". Gulf Daily News. Retrieved 2007-07-16.
- Josh White (November 1, 2005). "Guantanamo Desperation Seen in Suicide Attempts: One Incident Was During Lawyer's Visit". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-07-16.
- Kanwal Hameed (November 8, 2005). "Move to protect Bay detainee". Gulf Daily News. Retrieved 2007-07-16.
- Jane Sutton (June 11, 2006). "Dozens have attempted suicide at Guantanamo". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on October 19, 2006. Retrieved 2007-07-16.
- Lewis, Neil (2007-01-13). "Official attacks top law firms over detainees". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-01-17.