John has practiced at Greene Espel since 2005 where, according to the 2010 edition of Benchmark: The Definitive Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys, he “has made a name for himself managing complex business disputes.” In 2011, John was named as one of Minnesota Lawyer's 28 “Up & Coming Attorneys," and from 2013 to present, one of Benchmark's "Local Litigation Stars."

John graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 2002, where he was Managing Editor of the Michigan Law Review. While at Michigan, he won the 78th Annual Henry M. Campbell Moot Court Competition, which the university describes as “one of the highest honors a Michigan law student can achieve." John won several awards while at Michigan, including the Jason L. Honigman award for his contributions to the Law Review over two years. Following law school, John clerked for the Honorable Richard H. Kyle of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.

John is regarded as an “extremely eloquent” written and oral advocate. In every case, John uses his persuasive and storytelling skills to find the essence of his client's case and present it in a clear, compelling manner.

John graduated from Kenyon College and has a Master’s degree from the University of Exeter in England. When John is not practicing law, he is likely chasing around his three young daughters or playing hockey.

Representative Experience

  • Reshare Commerce, LLC v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, et al.:
    Bob Gilbertson, Sybil Dunlop and John Ursu won defense judgment for Greene Espel’s client, American Family Mutual Insurance Company, in a patent-infringement case. 
  • Superior Seafoods, Inc. v. Tyson Foods:  Bob Gilbertson and John Ursu persuaded the Eighth Circuit to adopt new standard for reviewing the grant of summary judgment in equitable actions and won affirmance for Greene Espel’s client, Tyson Foods, in trademark dispute.
  • Hoyt Properties, Inc., et al. v. Production Resources Group, LLC, et al.:  Following remand from the Minnesota Supreme Court, Andy Luger and John Ursu won partial summary judgment and then bench trial on breach of contract, recession, and negligent misrepresentation claims in one of the largest and most extensively litigated commercial lease disputes in Minnesota history.
  • Association Casualty et al. v. Allstate, et al.:  Made significant new law with respect to administrative remedies, associations, fiduciary duties, and boards of directors in complex reinsurance litigation arising out of Hurricane Katrina. Tried two-week jury trial with Larry Espel in the Southern District of Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.


  • U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Federal and Eighth Circuits
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
  • State Bar of Minnesota

Thought Leadership


  • Hot Topics in Attorney-Client Privilege for In-House Counsel, Minnesota CLE Webcast, Panelist (August 17, 2012)
  • Privilege in Multiparty Litigation – The Joint Defense and Common Interest Privileges, Minnesota CLE, Panelist (June 15, 2011)
  • The Lawyer as Witness: When Attorney-Client Communications Are the Subject of Litigation, Minnesota CLE, Panelist (October 21, 2008)


  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America (2018-2019)
  • Named to 2018 BTI Client Service All-Stars List (2018)
  • Honored as Local Litigation Star, Benchmark: The Definitive Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys (2013-2017)
  • Named Up & Coming Attorney, Minnesota Lawyer (2011)
  • Listed as Rising Star, Minnesota Super Lawyers (2011, 2012)
  • Recognized as Future Star, Benchmark: The Definitive Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys (Third Annual Edition, Fourth Annual Edition, Fifth Annual Edition)
  • Champion, 78th Annual Henry M. Campbell Moot Court Competition at University of Michigan Law School, 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)
  • Managing Editor, Michigan Law Review, Vol. 100 (2001-02)
  • Jason L. Honigman Award, for the greatest contributions to the Michigan Law Review (2002)
  • Certificate of Merit, for the highest grade in Constitutionalism in South Africa (2002)
  • James A. Dykema Award, for election to the editorial board of the Michigan Law Review (2001)

Practice Areas


J.D., University of Michigan (2002); Managing Editor, Michigan Law Review

M.A., University of Exeter (U.K.) (1996)

B.A., Kenyon College, cum laude (1992)


Dorsey & Whitney, LLP, Associate (2004-2005)

U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, The Honorable Richard H. Kyle, Law Clerk (2002-2004)