Dorsey & Whitney announced Tuesday that William Stoeri will become the Minneapolis-based Am Law 200 firm’s next managing partner at the start of 2019.
Stoeri, who is based in Minneapolis, joined the firm after a federal court clerkship that followed his 1982 graduation from Yale Law School. He has spent the bulk of his roughly 35 years at Dorsey as a trial lawyer. Stoeri has tried more than 40 cases, many of them on behalf of the Rochester, Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic.
Stoeri succeeds Kenneth Cutler, who was chosen in late 2012 and served as managing partner for a pair of three-year terms, which is the maximum allowed. Dorsey’s managing partner is selected by the firm’s policy committee, which took written submissions for the role and conducted interviews prior to voting this week to elect Stoeri.
The new role will be a full-time gig for Stoeri, who is currently preparing for a state court of appeals argument this week and an appearance before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit next week.
Stoeri is no stranger to leadership positions at Dorsey, having served as a member of the firm’s management committee (a group selected by the firm’s managing partner) and policy committee; as partner-in-charge of the firm’s global trial group; as head of the firm’s health litigation practice; and co-leader of the firm’s health care industry team.
As for the broader firm, last year Dorsey saw gross revenue rise 3.2 percent, which represented a recovery from a roughly 3 percent slip in 2016. Since Cutler took the firm’s leadership reins in early 2013, Dorsey has seen its gross revenue rise 3.4 percent, to $337.3 million in 2017. Head count since 2013 has slipped 2.4 percent, to 489 lawyers last year, while profits per equity partner have risen nearly 17 percent, to $637,000.
“We’re going in the right direction, and I think there is a lot of optimism here,” Stoeri said Tuesday. “I want to continue that.”
Dorsey has seen significant growth this year in Salt Lake City. The firm has doubled its head count in the so-called Silicon Slopes region to about 62 lawyers. Last month, Dorsey brought on a seven-lawyer group in Salt Lake from Holland & Hart led by one of Utah’s top dealmakers, Matthew Wells. In February, Dorsey hired a 10-lawyer intellectual property group from Holland & Hart led by brothers Brett Foster and Grant Foster.
“What we’ve done there is what I’d like us to do in other offices,” Stoeri said. “We can say we’ve got some really good lawyers on our own that are respected in the community. Then other lawyers look at it and say they want to [join Dorsey]. In Salt Lake, Dorsey became the place that people wanted to go. And I’d like to emulate that in other places.”
Part of the firm’s success in hiring laterals has been a compensation system that allots up to 200 percent billing credit for partners who share work. A lawyer who originates a matter and gives all the work to another lawyer can receive 200 percent credit.
“That leads to a lot of sharing that may not take place under different systems,” Stoeri said. “It’s something people are excited about when they come over as leading to more collaboration and goodwill than at other places. We’ll continue to look at ways to make that even better. There are a lot of positives there and ways that we can improve it even more.”
In addition to his work with Dorsey, Stoeri has served since 2003 on the executive council of the Minnesota Historical Society. He also serves on the Federal Magistrate Judge Reappointment Panel and is a member of the boards of directors for Kalamazoo College, the 1 for 2 Education Foundation and the Minnesota Supreme Court Historical Society.
“Bill has been our lawyer for years,” said a statement from Matthew Hanzel, head of litigation at the Mayo Clinic. “He is more than a superb litigator and trial lawyer. He is our trusted adviser and counsel. He is also a true leader, both in the firm and in the community. I know he will be a terrific managing partner for Dorsey.”
The American Lawyer reported last year on Dorsey naming trusts and estates partner Kim Severson to chair its policy committee. Severson, who also heads the firm’s nonprofit foundation, was the first woman to hold the role in Dorsey’s history.
Dorsey & Whitney also announced Tuesday its hire of Morrison & Foerster financial transactions partner Phillip Slater for its banking and finance group in London.