John W. Ursu

Partner

Overview

John Ursu’s approach to establishing and controlling case dynamics is unique. In the past five years, John has led teams that achieved threshold dismissals in cases involving more than $5 billion of potential liability, including third-party complaints in multidistrict litigation and consolidated state litigation, putative class actions, a CAFA-removed mass action and a consolidated mass-tort state action. Recently, he secured complete victory at a final arbitration hearing on behalf of a manufacturer defending antitrust-whistleblower claims. As a client once said, “You could hire someone else to set the strategy for your case. But why take the risk?”

John builds winning strategies in complex cases. In 2020, John led a multi-office team of commercial, intellectual-property and white-collar attorneys that stopped an attempted $14.25 billion fraud on the State of Indiana in connection with the procurement of 3M’s N95 respirators. Previously, John represented a large corporate plaintiff in multidistrict litigation where, as a court-appointed member of the plaintiff’s executive committee, John helped secure a $217 million judgment at trial and, ultimately, a $1.5 billion settlement on behalf of U.S. corn farmers. Cases John has led have been featured in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

 

According to Benchmark Litigation, John is an “extremely eloquent” oral and written advocate who has “made a name for himself managing complex business disputes.” As an oral advocate, he argued and won an industry-defining case on the preemptive scope of the U.S. Grain Standards Act on behalf of a joint-defense group composed of the largest grain handlers and exporters in the world. Likewise, he argued and won remand for 10,000 cases removed under the federal common law of foreign relations on behalf of a joint-prosecution group in multidistrict litigation. John has argued against a U.S. Supreme Court clerk seven times — in venues from Louisiana to Kansas City — and has won each time. 

 

Best Lawyers in America has recognized John for his national commercial practice.  In 2019, John was one of eighteen lawyers nationwide  and the only lawyer in Minnesota  to be named a BTI Client Service All-Star MVP, which “honors the individuals able to stand out in the sea of legal services providers to represent the cream of the crop.” To be a BTI Client Service All-Star, a lawyer must be “single[d] out . . . by name and in an unprompted manner — as delivering the absolute best client service. . . . Clients have the final — and only — say.”

 

John graduated from the University of Michigan Law School, where he was managing editor of the Michigan Law Review and the Campbell Moot Court champion. He serves on the board of directors of Neighborhood Justice Center, one of Minnesota’s oldest public-defender organizations.

Credentials

Bar Admissions

Minnesota

Clerkships

U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, Hon. Richard H. Kyle, 2002-2004

Education

University of Michigan Law School
J.D. Michigan Law Review (managing editor) (2002)

University of Exeter
M.A. in Criticism and Theory (1996)

Kenyon College
B.A. in English (1992)

Leadership & Community

Professional Associations

  • Neighborhood Justice Center, Board Member

Honors

  • Best Lawyers in America  2018-20
  • Faegre Drinker — Pro Bono Honor Roll, 2020
  • Benchmark Litigation —  Litigation Star, 2010-21; Future Star, 3rd-5th Editions
  • Minnesota Super Lawyers —  2019-21; Rising Star, 2011-12
  • BTI Client Service All-Stars — MVP, 2019
  • BTI Client Service All-Stars — 2018-19
  • Minnesota Lawyer — Up & Coming Attorney, 2011
  • University Michigan Law School — Champion, 78th Annual Henry M. Campbell Moot Court Competition, as awarded by Judge Frank Easterbrook (7th Cir.), Judge Steven Reinhardt (9thCir.) and Barbara Underwood, former Acting Solicitor General for the United States (2002)
  • Michigan Law Review — Managing Editor, Vol. 100, 2001-02
  • Jason L. Honigman Award — for the greatest contributions to the Michigan Law Review, 2002
  • James A. Dykema Award — the election to the editorial board of the Michigan Law Review, 2001

 Awards Methodology

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