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John W. Ursu



John W. Ursu builds winning strategies in major cases. He has led large commercial disputes involving millions or billions of dollars in venues across the country, including Louisiana, South Carolina, Indiana, East Saint Louis, Kansas City and Minnesota. A creative and effective advocate, John’s cases have again and again turned on matters of first impression resolved in favor of his clients. As a client once said, “You could hire someone else to set the strategy for your case. But why take the risk?”

John’s approach drives results. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, 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. He defended Dominion Voting Systems in cases filed in Minnesota arising from the 2020 national election and has argued for the constitutionality of COVID vaccine mandates for the City of Northfield, Minnesota. Previously, John represented a large corporate plaintiff in multidistrict litigation where, as a court-appointed member of the plaintiff’s executive committee, he 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, 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 a series of industry-defining cases 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.

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. John is on the adjunct faculty at the University of Minnesota Law School, where he teaches law students how to take testimony. He is a co-editor and co-author of Minnesota Contract Litigation, published by LexisNexis, and writes on topics from trial practice to Shakespeare.

Commercial, Intellectual Property & Constitutional Litigation

John leads cases in the following areas:

  • Trade secret, trademark and copyright
  • Mass tort
  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • Fraud
  • Breach of contract
  • Sale of goods under the Uniform Commercial Code
  • Breach of warranty
  • Constitutional law and First Amendment
  • Administrative law


Bar Admissions



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


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)

Insights & Events

Leadership & Community

Professional Associations

  • Neighborhood Justice Center, Board Member


  • Chambers USA — Minnesota, Litigation: General Commercial, 2024
  • Best Lawyers® — Commercial Litigation,2018-20, 2022-24
  • Faegre Drinker — Pro Bono Honor Roll, 2020
  • Benchmark Litigation — Litigation Star, 2010-21; Future Star, 3rd-5th Editions
  • Minnesota Super Lawyers — 2019-23; 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 (9th Cir.) 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
No aspect of these recognitions has been approved by the highest court of any state.
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