Judge David S. Doty

2020 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Eighth Circuit

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA–David S. Doty has been selected to receive the prestigious 2020 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Eighth Circuit. Doty is a senior judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. Now almost 91, Doty still maintains a nearly full caseload.
“Judge Doty sets the gold standard for professionalism in our district,” says John R. Tunheim, chief judge for the District of Minnesota, who nominated Doty for the award. “He is revered by his judicial colleagues and by those who appear before him.”

Upon earning his undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota, Doty joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1952, during the Korean War. The day after his discharge at the rank of captain in 1958, he entered the University of Minnesota Law School, where he became editor of the law review. Upon earning his law degree with honors in 1961, Doty joined the Minneapolis law firm that eventually became Popham, Haik, Schnobrich, Kaufman & Doty. Over the course of his 26-year career, Doty was a generalist focused on trial and administrative law. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan appointed Doty to serve as a U.S. district judge.

Since becoming a judge, Doty has presided over hundreds of jury trials and legal proceedings. One highlight was his deft handling of antitrust litigation between the National Football League (NFL) owners and players in the late 1980s and early 1990s. “After that litigation was settled in 1993, the NFL and the NFL Players Association agreed that Judge Doty would continue to preside over any disputes arising out of that settlement,” says Barbara Podlucky Berens, Esquire, of Berens & Miller P.A. in Minneapolis, a former law clerk of Doty’s. “Such an agreement between staunch adversaries speaks to the level of respect that litigants have for Judge Doty.”

Doty has also been active in bar and civic organizations. He has served as president of the Minnesota Bar Association, the Hennepin County Bar Association, and the University of Minnesota Law School Alumni Association, for example. He also served as an elected member of the Minneapolis Public Library Board. Doty is an alumnus of the Warren E. Burger American Inn of Court and the Douglas K. Amdahl American Inn of Court. He received the 1989 Professionalism Award from the Hennepin County Bar Association and the 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Minnesota Law Review.