The law firm of Dorsey & Whitney announced today it is ending its decades-long Minneapolis City Attorney’s program, under which Dorsey attorneys provided legal services assisting in the prosecution of misdemeanor cases in the City of Minneapolis. The move is one of several actions being taken by Dorsey in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police.
“Dorsey & Whitney shares the sadness and the outrage expressed throughout Minnesota and the world over George Floyd’s killing, as well as over the long history of such injustice,” said Managing Partner Bill Stoeri. “Healing can only occur by addressing the systemic racism that plagues us. Dorsey is immediately placing an even greater emphasis on pro bono work that helps rebuild communities, and will no longer support misdemeanor prosecutions in Minneapolis. We must be part of the solution, and that means concrete action to assist the community and a re-examining of our own programs and practices.” Studies demonstrate that prosecution of misdemeanors disproportionately impact the Black community, which was an important factor in Dorsey’s decision to end its involvement in Minneapolis prosecutions.
Dorsey’s Diversity & Inclusion and Pro Bono Chairs are leading a collaboration within the Firm aimed at providing legal services to communities most affected by destruction that has occurred in the civil unrest gripping the country. Besides legal support, Dorsey will continue its long tradition of non-legal volunteerism to aid its communities, in the Twin Cities and in the many other cities that Dorsey serves. “We also need to look inward,” added Stoeri. “We have long focused on diversity and inclusion efforts and we believe we have made progress. We also know it has not been enough. Law firms, including ours, need to reevaluate their approach and not rest on the status quo.”
Dorsey has provided services to the Minneapolis City Attorney’s office, assisting in the prosecution of misdemeanors, for more than 40 years. “We thank the City Attorney’s office for allowing our involvement for these many years,” said Stoeri. “As we take stock of how Dorsey can best fulfill its obligations to the community, to clients, and to members of our Firm, it is simply time to devote more resources to assisting those who are the victims of injustice.”