It is a time of sorrow for the Dorsey community and for all those who knew Thaddeus (Thad) Lightfoot, who passed away unexpectedly on Monday, December 14. He was 60 years old. Thad was a partner in Dorsey’s Regulatory Affairs group since 2012, when he joined the firm as a nationally-recognized environmental lawyer.
“We are deeply saddened to hear of Thad’s passing,” noted Managing Partner Bill Stoeri. “Thad was not only an exceedingly talented and thoughtful lawyer, he was just an all-around outstanding person. The depth of his friendships is a testament to the respect he paid to everyone he encountered.”
Before graduating from Georgetown University Law Center in 1988, Thad was a Legislative Assistant for energy and environmental issues to Representative Thomas S. Foley, former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and helped draft the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1986. Thad began his legal career as an associate at the Weil Gotshal firm in their Washington D.C. office. From 1991 to 1994, Thad entered public service as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, Environmental Enforcement Section. Following his time at the Justice Department, Thad relocated to the Twin Cities where he worked at two law firms before forming his own firm – The Environmental Law Group – in 2000.
Joining Dorsey in 2012, Thad’s practice focused on representing clients in private party environmental litigation matters and governmental enforcement actions, and advising clients on compliance with federal, state, and local environmental laws. Thad was extremely active in the community and in bar associations. He was President of the Hennepin County Bar Association (2017 – 2018), an Adjunct Professor at both the Mitchell Hamline and the University of Minnesota Schools of Law, and a long-time member of the Board of Directors of the Minnesota State Bar Association, and he gave his time to many, many other causes and pursuits. He was a tireless author of scholarly articles and lecturer at seminars. His commitment to pro bono work was also extraordinary over his career.
Thad is survived by his wife Susan Lightfoot and sons Christopher and Daniel. Thad’s passing is a deep loss to his loved ones, the Dorsey community, and the profession and community at large.