Dorsey & Whitney LLP at a Glance


  • “Good work/life balance”
  • “Excellent training”


  • “Benefits are not great”
  • “Compensation”

The Buzz

  • “Minnesota Cravath”
  • “Best in Minneapolis”
  • “Good culture”

About Dorsey & Whitney LLP

Dorsey & Whitney was founded in 1912 when William Lancaster, a prominent Minneapolis lawyer joined forces with David Simpson, a Minnesota Supreme Court justice. The pair established their practice for one very simple reason: the First National Bank of Minneapolis, of which Lancaster was a director, needed a reliable law firm to handle its growing business.

Introducing Dorsey

Today Dorsey is one of the largest law firms in the United States, with a client list that includes more than one-third of the Fortune 100 and more than half of Minnesota's public companies. Key clients include U.S. Bank, General Mills, UnitedHealth Group, 3M, Delta Air Lines, St. Jude Medical, Hormel, Mayo Clinic, Canon and SUPERVALU Inc.

The name Dorsey became connected with the firm in 1913 when James Dorsey joined as an associate. He took the reins after Lancaster and Simpson passed away and drove the firm's growth through expanded corporate, banking and financial services practices. In fact, Dorsey was so interested in the world of finance, he left the firm to try his hand at investment banking; eventually he gave that up and returned to law.

Several partners passed through the Dorsey doors (and across its letterhead), but the name Dorsey & Whitney was finalized in 1981. At the time, Arthur Whitney, who led the firm's public finance practice, was one of Dorsey's oldest surviving partners. The firm's ranks have also included such notable attorneys as Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, Professor William Prosser and Vice President Walter Mondale.

General Practice with Boutique Depth in IP

Over the last decade, the firm has dominated the mergers and acquisitions scene, advising on transactions large and small, from multinational acquisitions to small family business sales. The firm's securities litigation and enforcement department is also highly regarded, having represented financial institutions, broker/dealers, issuers, underwriters and individuals nationwide.

And though it is a general practice firm, Dorsey & Whitney's intellectual property practice ranks right up with most any of the smaller specialty boutiques. Besides litigation, Dorsey offers specialized IP services like licensing, patent prosecution and brand management. It also fields a dedicated team of clean tech IP attorneys who serve emerging companies (think carbon capture and sequestering technology, tidal technology and fuel cells and next-gen batteries).

Equality History

People around the world learned Dorsey's name in April 2009, when the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in favor of Dorsey's plaintiffs in a landmark decision that overturned the state's ban on same-sex marriage. The case, which Dorsey handled pro bono in partnership with Lambda Legal, was an unprecedented victory for marriage equality in the United States.

But that's not the only reason Dorsey is known internationally. The firm's small but active international practices are divided into regional units, including Europe, Canada, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, India and Israel. The India practice is run out of the Hong Kong office; Latin American matters are coordinated between California and New York; and attorneys across the U.S. and in London work in the Israeli practice group. 

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Dorsey & Whitney LLP

50 South Sixth Street
Suite 1500
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Phone: (612) 340-2600


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Managing Partner: Ken Cutler
  • Hiring Partner: Bryan Keane
  • Total No. Attorneys 2016: 562

  • Base Salary
    Minneapolis, MN
    1st year: $120,000
    Summer associate: $2,300/week

    Other locations: Varies by location

  • Summer Associate Offers
    19 out of 20 (2Ls only) (2015)

  • Major Departments & Practices

    Benefits & Compensation • Corporate & Transactions • Finance & Restructuring • Health • Intellectual Property • Labor, Employment & Immigration • Litigation • Public Finance • Real Estate • Regulatory Affairs • Tax, Trusts, Estates & Non-Profits

Major Office Locations

  • Minneapolis, MN (HQ) • Anchorage, AK • Costa Mesa, CA • Denver, CO • Des Moines, IA • Fargo, ND • Missoula, MT • New York, NY • Palo Alto, CA • Salt Lake City, UT • Seattle, WA • Washington, DC • Wilmington, DE • Beijing • Hong Kong • London • Shanghai • Toronto • Vancouver