As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we remember Faith Ohman, Dorsey’s first woman partner. Faith was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She received a B.A. degree from Macalester College and a J.D. degree from the University of Minnesota Law School.
Faith joined Dorsey, Marquart, Windhorst, West & Halladay in 1967. After she joined the Firm as an associate in the Trusts & Estates Group, the Firm consisted of 77 lawyers in total – 76 men and Faith.
Faith was the second woman lawyer in the history of Dorsey. The first, Betty Washburn, joined the Firm in 1943, but left in 1947 when she was appointed the first woman court commissioner for Hennepin County in Minnesota. Betty Washburn went on to be named by Minnesota Governor Luther Youngdahl as a Hennepin County municipal judge in 1950 – the first woman judge in the history of Minnesota.
Faith picked up where Betty Washburn left off 20 years earlier. She overcame the challenges of being the only woman in the Firm with sheer brilliance, hard work and a personality that attracted a superb base of Trusts & Estates clients. In 1973, Faith Ohman became the first woman partner at Dorsey.
As a partner, Faith was a patient and tireless teacher and mentor for new Trusts & Estates (T&E) lawyers. She was an important force in the formation of the current generation of Dorsey’s T&E leaders in Minneapolis. She was also a dedicated teacher and mentor outside the Firm, leading many Continuing Legal Education programs and taking an active role in Minnesota State Bar Association and Hennepin County Bar Association professional activities.
Faith left the Firm in 1989 to pursue small-firm and solo practice. She also worked for Minnesota CLE.
Faith had many friends in the community and was active in women’s groups and an avid traveler and gardener in her years after leaving Dorsey. She never hesitated to provide guidance and a helping hand to women facing the challenges of the professional workplace.
Faith was a pioneer. By the end of the 1970s, Dorsey totaled 160 lawyers. Ten percent of them were women, which continued to increase due in no small part to Faith’s hard-won success and her brilliant example. Faith Ohman passed away in 2017 at age 74, but her lasting impact on the legal community continues.