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Continued: Dorsey & Whitney: A Minneapolis law firm in transition

  • Article by: DAVID PHEL , Star Tribune
  • Last update: March 4, 2013 - 10:26 AM

Business transactions, a Dorsey staple, slowed considerably during the downturn. Even trial work was down.

“Dorsey is not in the forefront these days,” said Jodi Standke, head of the law firm consultancy Talon Performance Group. “They’re just keeping up. At Dorsey, they have to ask ‘What are we? Who are we? Do we need all of those offices?’ ”

FaegreBD attributed its performance last year to concentration on four major industries — energy and clean technology, financial services, food and agriculture and life sciences.

“We’ve … been able to take on additional work — in terms of both scale and complexity — due to our expanded depth and breadth of resources and capabilities,” managing partner Andrew Humphrey said in a statement to the Star Tribune.

Notable deals for FaegreBD included Hormel’s acquisition of Skippy peanut butter and favorable court decisions for aircraft manufacturer Cirrus Design and legal publisher Thomson Reuters.

Dorsey, meanwhile, represented Park Nicollet Health Services in its merger with HealthPartners and handled multiple transactions for longtime clients UnitedHealth and U.S. Bank.

Cutler, while acknowledging that Dorsey’s European business is off, said its legal work in China is strong.

Asked about morale at the firm, Cutler said, “It’s pretty good. Anytime there’s change, there’s a bit of an upbeat. Marianne did a fabulous job. But anytime you do something fresh, there’s excitement. We’ll see how long the bloom lasts.”


David Phelps • 612-673-7269

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  • Dorsey & Whitney Managing Partner Ken Cutler talked about the law firm and the new management team he’s put in place after the unexpected departure of longtime managing partner Marianne Short. Although 2012 was a difficult year, Cutler believes that 2013 will bring a turnaround.

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