Kirsten is a trial lawyer and partner in the Minneapolis office of Dorsey & Whitney, and Recruiting Chair for the firm. Kirsten represents commercial clients in securities class actions, shareholder disputes, ERISA litigation, FINRA actions, advisor fee litigation, internal investigations, and other disputes relating to the financial services and healthcare industries.
Kirsten has defended financial services clients in class actions relating to the sale of municipal derivatives, reverse convertible notes, and other sophisticated securities products. She has significant experience representing broker dealers and asset managers in internal investigations, regulatory inquiries, and FINRA arbitration, and has represented multiple companies and boards of directors in shareholder disputes. Kirsten also represents ERISA benefit plan sponsors, administrators, and fiduciaries in both the retirement and health plan spaces. She has defended class action challenges to retirement plans, including stock drop, proprietary fund, and excessive fee cases, health plan claims for benefits, and provider-driven mass actions.
Kirsten has appeared in matters pending in the District of Minnesota, Southern District of New York, Central District of California, Southern District of Indiana, and Western District of Wisconsin; the Second, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Circuits; Delaware Chancery Court; and state courts in Minnesota, California, Iowa, Michigan, and Florida, as well as in FINRA arbitration.
Kirsten devotes a significant portion of her practice to pro bono work. Alongside a team of Dorsey lawyers, she recently won release of her intellectually disabled client, Bruce Webster, from federal death row. As a result of the firm’s work on Mr. Webster’s case, Kirsten received the 2020 HCBA Excellence Award for Pro Bono Service, and Dorsey was given the ABA’s 2020 Exceptional Service Award. She was also named the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota’s 2018 National Advocate of the Year for her work on behalf of a child refugee during the Trump Administration’s first travel ban.
Kirsten serves as an elected representative on Dorsey’s Policy Committee. Kirsten served as firm Recruiting Chair for three years, working closely with management and recruiting staff to promote diversity and inclusion across Dorsey’s offices.
Education & Admissions
University of Michigan Law School (J.D., 2006), Associate Editor, Michigan Telecommunications and Technology Law Review
University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire (B.A., 2003), magna cum laude
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
- Multiple pro hac vice admissions, including Delaware Chancery Court, the U.S. District Courts for the Southern District of New York, Central District of California, the Southern District of Indiana, and multiple state courts
- Represented large public company and other defendants in 10b-5 securities class action alleging false statements in connection with an acquisition. Obtained complete dismissal at the pleadings stage. (D. Minn.)
- Counsel for one of the country’s largest financial services companies in ERISA class action alleging breach of fiduciary duties relating to the inclusion of target date funds in 401(k) plan. Obtained dismissal with prejudice on Motion to Dismiss. (D. Minn.)
- Counsel for large wealth management company in class action alleging breach of contract through the sale of reverse convertible notes. Motion for summary judgment was granted in full, and Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification was denied as moot. Affirmed on appeal. (D. Minn.)
- Counsel to one of the country’s largest health insurance companies and claims administrators in multiple out-of-network provider mass actions seeking payment of health benefit claims and equitable relief under ERISA (California state and federal courts), as well one of the first class actions alleging mental health parity claims, which was dismissed in full at the pleadings stage (S.D.N.Y.).
- Counsel to investment bank in multiple civil litigation matters relating to advisor fee and other transaction-based disputes. (Relating to matters pending in Del. Ch., D. Minn., N.D. Cal., State of Florida, S.D.N.Y., D. Mass.)
- Counsel to financial advisor and valuation firm in several civil litigation and regulatory matters relating to ESOP transactions. (Relating to matters pending in D. Minn., E.D. Tex., S.D. Ill., State of Pennsylvania)
- Counsel to chief medical officer in securities action against former employer arising from wrongful cancelation of stock options and other employment-related disputes. (E.D. Wisc.)
- Represented four plan sponsors against kidney dialysis provider’s claims for denial of health benefits claims. Defendants’ motion to dismiss was granted in full. (State of Michigan)
- Counsel for Minnesota telecommunication company in declaratory judgment action brought by regional rail authority seeking to regulate telecommunication providers’ right to use public right of way. Obtained summary judgment in favor of defendant on all claims. (State of Minnesota)
- Counsel for defendant state insurance guaranty fund in district court and regulatory actions regarding coverage of workers’ compensation claims under a high deductible policy. Obtained summary judgment on all claims; unanimously affirmed on appeal. (State of Minnesota)
- Counsel for trustees of more than a dozen family trusts in 30 separate actions alleging breach of fiduciary duties in trust administration. (State of Florida, State of Minnesota)
- Bruce Webster death penalty litigation. Pro bono counsel for intellectually disabled federal prisoner seeking review of death sentence under 28 U.S.C. 2241.
- Obtained Seventh Circuit en banc decision granting evidentiary hearing, setting precedent; district court vacated death sentence; Seventh Circuit affirmed. (S.D. Ind., Seventh Circuit, Fifth Circuit)
- Pro bono counsel for multiple non-citizens challenging unlawful prolonged detention practices and 2017 refugee ban.
News & Resources
News & Press Mentions
Events & Speaking Engagements
- Debriefing: The Supreme Court Arguments on Health Care Reform (April 2012)
- Retirement Plan Litigation: Lessons Learned and Challenges Ahead, Midwest Pension Conference (March 2011). See presentation material here.
Industries & Practices
- Antitrust & Competition Law
- Banking & Financial Institutions
- Benefits & Compensation
- Class Action Litigation
- Commercial Litigation
- Corporate Governance & Compliance
- ERISA Litigation
- Financial Services Regulatory
- Government Solutions & Investigations
- Healthcare & Life Sciences
- Healthcare Litigation
- Securities & Financial Services Litigation & Enforcement
- Tax Controversy & Litigation
- Trusts & Estates Litigation
Professional & Civic
- Received the Hennepin County Bar Association’s 2020 Excellence Award for Pro Bono Service
- Received Dorsey’s 2020 Scales of Justice Award for outstanding achievement in pro bono service
- Named the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota’s 2018 National Advocate of the Year for her work on behalf of a child refugee during the Trump Administration’s first travel ban
- Received Dorsey’s 2015 Scales of Justice Award for outstanding achievement in her representation of an intellectually disabled death row inmate
- University of Minnesota Law School, Adjunct Associate Professor (Center for New Americans, Federal Immigration Litigation Clinic)