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Downey Brand LLP

At a Glance


“Genuine investment in junior attorney development.”

“Truly valuing female employees.”


“Work distribution can be inequitable.”

“Hard to recruit top talent to Sacramento.”

About Downey Brand LLP


Founded in 1926, when Sacramento was still a young, burgeoning metropolis, the three-lawyer firm of Downey, Brand & Seymour constituted about three percent of the city’s 100 or so attorneys. The firm’s growth was slow early on, with only five attorneys in 1946. But it continued to grow over the decades, expanding to new offices and locations. Now with nearly 100 attorneys of its own, Downey Brand is Sacramento’s largest law firm.

 Notable in NorCal

 Downey Brand handles most every type of civil matter, though its practice reflects its location in the state’s capital and in the middle of the state’s agricultural heartland. The firm’s particular strengths include business, litigation, and natural resources, and its attorneys specialize in a wide variety of sub specialties within these areas—more than 40 at last count. The firm has attorneys licensed in both California and Nevada, and is well established in northern California, with additional offices in San Francisco and Stockton. 

Litigating over Land—and Water

Downey Brand boasts a strong General Commercial Litigation practice. Many of the region's leading companies trust their most significant litigation to the firm—with good reason. Downey Brand’s attorneys have a proven record of successfully handling a wide variety of complex, high-stakes commercial and business cases, counseling both plaintiffs and defendants in business, construction, employment, eminent domain, environmental, family law, food and agricultural, intellectual property, products liability, land use, trust & estates, and water rights litigation. The firm also boasts an appellate & writ practice and even has a certified appellate specialist: Jay-Allen Eisen. Eisen has advised on more than 300 appeals and writs in his over 50-year career.

 The firm also boasts a noteworthy Natural Resources practice, including such areas as air quality, environmental enforcement defense, environmental remediation, land use, and water law. Its Environmental Litigation practice has been recognized nationally and in California by U.S. News – Best Lawyers®, and its Water Law practice has been recognized by U.S. News – Best Lawyers Sacramento rankings. Among the firm’s clients are companies and individuals in a range of areas, including aerospace, energy, petroleum, maritime, mining, manufacturing, and agribusiness. Downey Brand attorneys are no strangers to matters involving toxins and pollutants, including site cleanup and remediation, water quality and waste discharge, cost recovery litigation, and defense of environmental enforcement actions. And in the land-use arena, they counsel on such areas as entitlements, zoning, the National Environmental Policy Act, and more. 

NorCal’s Corporate Counsel

With its headquarters in the state capital, Downey Brand serves as outside general counsel for many of Northern California’s leading companies, including privately held and family-owned companies, nonprofits, and publicly-traded companies. For other national and regional companies, Downey Brand’s corporate and business lawyers are called upon to act as special counsel to handle complex business and real estate transactions. Some of the firm’s recent experience includes advising a selling group on an $85 million cash-and-stock merger transaction; guiding a family-owned winery through reorganization; and achieving a dismissal for a financial institution in a multi-million-dollar breach of contract suit.

COVID-19 Update

The firm follows all local and state guidelines for prevention and mitigation of the spread of COVID-19 and has supported long-term telework arrangements, which include virtual interviewing. We have continued to recruit and hire throughout this time and facilitate virtual and in-person interviews depending upon the state of the pandemic as well as the preferences of candidates and interviewers. Newly hired attorneys are provided technological and other support for training, integration, and workload purposes. Our 2021 summer program was conducted in fulland summer associates were permitted to work in person or remotely as needed. OCIs and callbacks have continued to be conducted largely remotely, with some in-person callback interviews.

Downey Brand LLP

621 Capitol Mall
18th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 444-1000

Firm Stats

Managing Partner: Scott Shapiro
Chair: Bill Warne
Recruiting Chair: Meghan Baker
Total No. Attorneys (2022):
50 - 100
No. of Partners Named 2022:
Billable-Hour Requirement:

Base Salary

All Offices (except San Francisco):
1st year: $140,000
8th year+: $198,000 and up
Summer Associate: $2,700/week
San Francisco:
1st year: $165,000
8th year+: $223,000 and up
Summer Associate: $3,175/week

Employment Contact

Maureen Cooper
Recruiting Director
(916) 520-5483

No. of U.S. Offices: 3

No. of International Offices: 0

Major Office Locations

Sacramento, CA (HQ)
San Francisco, CA
Stockton, CA

Major Departments

Appellate & Writ Practice
Bankruptcy & Insolvency
Corporate Law & Finance
Employment Law
Environmental Law
Family Law
Flood Protection
Food & Agriculture
Intellectual Property
Mergers & Acquisitions
Privacy & Data Security
Public Agencies
Real Estate and Land Use
Trusts & Estates
Water Law
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.