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Dorsey & Whitney Expands Immigration Services by Acquiring Webber Law Firm

Evan Ramstad STARTRIBUNE.COM

Whitney, one the largest Minneapolis-based law firms, expanded its immigration law services with the acquisition of Webber Law, an Edina-based boutique that helped companies navigate work-related visas and other hiring obstacles.

The move adds three attorneys and seven paralegals and other staffers to Dorsey’s immigration group, which has chiefly focused on challenges faced by large-company foreign executives and policy matters.

In a statement Thursday, Dorsey said the combination provides it “with the ability to advise on immigration compliance and applications, litigate issues and potentially lobby for highly targeted immigration reform.”

The Webber team, formed and led for 15 years by Robert Webber, will retain its fixed-fee billing practice, departing from the hourly and negotiated rates that are standard at large firms.

“An immigration practice is a cost-competitive thing,” Webber said in an interview. “Companies want work visas approved, but they don’t want to spend $100,000. [Dorsey] was looking for a model of how to provide these services in a cost-effective way.”

He said Dorsey’s leaders were also interested in the alternative pricing model because “clients are open to innovation in billing.”

Webber said the deal came about as the result of conversations he had with Brian McMahon, managing director of Major, Lindsey & Africa, a legal industry recruiting firm, that began early this year. He told McMahon about the limitations his small firm encountered as federal agencies changed immigration rules and enforcement under President Donald Trump’s administration. He said McMahon steered him into conversations with Dorsey’s attorneys.

Saiko McIvor, head of the immigration practice at Dorsey & Whitney, said in a statement, “The timing of the Webber team joining Dorsey is perfect, given that immigration has become very complicated over the last few years and is only going to get more so.”

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