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Dorsey & Whitney Seeing Plenty of Change

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The law firm of Dorsey & Whitney is hoping that 2013 will be different after it saw revenue levels hit their lowest numbers in six years in 2012, according to The Star Tribune.

“2012 was a disappointing year,” said Ken Cutler, Dorsey’s managing partner. He has held the position for two months. “But the last six years are the best six we’ve ever had.”

The revenue at Dorsey has dropped from its high of $367 million in 2008 to $313.5 million in 2012. The profits per partner numbers dropped from $670,000 in 2008 to $515,000 in 2012.

“I think Dorsey’s numbers are still respectful,” said legal consultant Roy S. Ginsburg. “$515,000 is still a lot of money.”

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Cutler said the following in an interview with the newspaper, “We’re expanding marketing, we have more focused practice groups. We even have a partner looking for lateral hires [from other firms]. We think this will bear fruit in 2013 and even more so in 2014.”

The only law firm Cutler has worked at is Dorsey, where he has been for 39 years. His practice focuses on emerging growth companies, corporate finance, and mergers and acquisitions. As the managing partner of the firm, Cutler has to visit all of the firm’s 19 foreign and domestic offices. He is at the London office this week. Later in March he will be in the office in Anchorage, Alaska.

“My clients do not wait for business to come in the door. Neither can we,” Cutler said.

The head of law firm consultancy company Talon Performance Group, Jodi Standke, said, “Dorsey is not in the forefront these days. They’re just keeping up. At Dorsey, they have to ask ‘What are we? Who are we? Do we need all of those offices?’ ”

Dorsey is no longer the largest Minneapolis-based law firm in Minnesota. That distinction now belongs to the firm of Faegre Baker Daniels.

“We’ve … been able to take on additional work — in terms of both scale and complexity — due to our expanded depth and breadth of resources and capabilities,” managing partner Andrew Humphrey said in a statement to the Star Tribune.

Dorsey recently represented Park Nicollet Health Services when it merged with HealthPartners. It also worked on transactions for its longtime clients U.S. Bank and UnitedHealth.

“It’s pretty good. Anytime there’s change, there’s a bit of an upbeat. Marianne did a fabulous job. But anytime you do something fresh, there’s excitement. We’ll see how long the bloom lasts,” Cutler said about the morale and environment at the firm.

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