Thomas W. Tinkham

Thomas W. Tinkham

Of Counsel



Tom is currently of Counsel and past Chair of the 30-lawyer Commercial Litigation practice group. He was a member of the Management Committee for 15 years and former Minneapolis Office Head.

Education & Admissions

Harvard Law School (J.D., 1969), cum laude

University of Wisconsin (B.S., 1966), With honors


  • Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
  • U.S. Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court


Representative Work

  • Whitaker v. 3M (Age class action – represented 3M)
  • SUPERVALU v. Cal Growers Corp. (represented SUPERVALU) (Colorado arbitration of contract claim and Robinson Patman counterclaim - decision for plaintiff) 
  • Cargill v. Lonestar Steel (represented Cargill as plaintiff in $30,000,000 jury verdict for plaintiff) 
  • ABC Corp. v. XYZ Corp. (Confidential arbitration - contract/restraint of trade) (prevailed on $17,000,000 claim) 
  • Fillipas v. Northwest (represented NWA in pilots age class action) (summary judgment granted)
  • Vitale v. Gannett Satellite Information Networks, Inc. (represented Gannett and KARE 11-TV in defamation action) (jury trial - verdict for defendant) 
  • Schlieman v. Gannett Co. (represented Gannett in jury trial - verdict for defendant) 
  • University of Minnesota v. Medical, Inc. (represented the University regarding the patent validity and infringement by a manufacturer of the Lillehei-Kaster Heart Valve) (jury trial - verdict for plaintiff) 
  • University of Minnesota v. Applied Innovations (case concerning validity of the copyright to the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (court trial - decision for plaintiff)
  • Northwest Airlines v. American Airlines (represented Northwest Airlines – issues concerned alleged trade secrets of American Airlines in the pricing and yield management areas) (temporary injunction trial - decision for Northwest – case settled)
  • Midwest Machinery v. Northwest Airlines (represented Northwest Airlines in class action antitrust claim regarding hub pricing)
  • Martens, et al. v. Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (represented 3M in class action, by all technical employees) (favorable decision by Minnesota Supreme Court)

News & Resources


"Navigating the Benefits, Risks, and Limitations of Entity Depositions," Bench & Bar of Minnesota
In Eviction Proceedings, Lawyers = Better Outcomes, Bench & Bar
So you are going to trial
Rationalizing Discovery of Metadata (co-author), U.S. Law Week
Applying a Rational Approach to Judicial Independence and Accountability on Contemporary Issues, William Mitchell Law Review
Plausible Answers and Affirmative Defenses (co-author), U.S. Law Week
The Uses and Misuses of Statistical Proof on Age Discrimination Cases, Vol. 27, No. 2 Hofstra Labor and Employment Law Journal 357
Prosecution and Defense of Misdemeanors in Minn. (co-author)

News & Press Mentions

Minnesota Supreme Court Recognizes Dorsey Lawyers for 2019 Pro Bono Service
HOUSING: Aid helps make evictions more fair, Star Tribune
54 Dorsey Lawyers in Minneapolis Selected for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2019 and 2019 Lawyers of the Year
51 Dorsey Lawyers in Minneapolis Selected for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2018 and 2018 Lawyers of the Year
48 Dorsey Lawyers in Minneapolis and Fargo Selected for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2017 and 2017 Lawyers of the Year
45 Dorsey Lawyers in Minneapolis and Fargo Selected for Inclusion in "The Best Lawyers in America®" 2016 and "Best Lawyers of the Year"
Dorsey’s Minneapolis Office Named - Complex Civil Litigation Law Firm of the Year in Minnesota
Dorsey’s Tom Tinkham Receives 2015 Hennepin County Bar Association Professionalism Award
Thomas W. Tinkham Receives the Distinguished Service Award
Corporate Attorney Joins Dorsey & Whitney in Minneapolis
Five Dorsey Minneapolis Attorneys Named Business Litigation Superlawyers

Industries & Practices

  • Antitrust & Competition Law

Professional & Civic

Professional Achievements

  • Minnesota State Bar Association, past President
  • Hennepin County Bar Association, past President
  • The Fund for the Legal Aid, past chair and current emeritus Board member
  • National Lawyers Committee, Board member 1995–2009
  • Volunteer Lawyers Network, past chair and on Board for 36 years; 40 years attending Clinics to provide pro bono advice, Past Chair, Founder and current member VLN Benefactors Board
  • Hennepin County Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Committee, chair 1994-2000
  • Numerous invited CLE presentations (evidence, technology, civil procedure)
  • Legal Teaching
      • William Mitchell College of Law – Visiting Professor – 2010
      • William Mitchell College of Law – Adjunct Professor – 2009 and 2011
  • Founder and current chair Hennepin County Pro Bono Project
  • Past Board Member: Call for Justice
  • Past member MSBA Civil Gideon Committee

Community Involvement

  • Founder and original Board Member – The Advocates
  • Minnesota Gender Bias Task Force (1988-1992)
  • Minnesota Public Television - Board Member – past
  • Periodically active in DFL party – past co-chair 3rd Congressional District
  • Children’s Theatre Board Member – past
  • Planned Parenthood Board Member – past
  • William Mitchell College of Law, Trustee 2005–2013
  • Co-Chair or Treasurer of many judicial campaigns
  • Osceola Medical Center Foundation – Board Member - past


  •  Listed in Best Lawyers in America© for Commercial Litigation, 1989-2023

    Pro Bono 100 Hours 2022      Contributed 100+ Pro Bono Hours in 2021 Contributed 100+ Pro Bono Hours in 2020

  • Contributed more than 100 Challenge pro bono hours, 2020-2022
  • Recognized for Outstanding Pro Bono Service, Minnesota Supreme Court, 2019
  • Hennepin County Bar Association Professionalism Award, 2015

     North Star Lawyer logo

  • MSBA North Star Lawyer, 2012-2020
  • VLN Pro Bono Distinguished Service Award, 2012
  • Distinguished Service Award, Hennepin County Bar Association, 2011
  • Distinguished Leadership in Justice Award, VLN, 2000
  • Lifetime pro bono award, Dorsey & Whitney
  • Regularly named one of Minnesota's Best Business Lawyers, Chambers
  • Winner Harvard Law School Moot Court Finals
Thomas W. Tinkham