WHAT WE DO
Downey Brand built its reputation by consistently providing clients with unparalleled legal solutions and unmatched customer service. Attorneys typically focus on one or more areas of law that most interest them and are best suited to their skills and knowledge. This affords our clients specialized advice that is tailored to their business and industry. Within the firm, various practices are grouped together to form our Business, Litigation, and Natural Resources Departments. Downey Brand attorneys have the flexibility to explore different practice areas and work with a variety of colleagues to best represent clients. Our firm is able to offer attorneys interesting cases and rewarding work no matter what their area of expertise.
PRO BONO & COMMUNITY SERVICE
The non-profit community recognizes Downey Brand as a leader in both philanthropy and pro bono work. Associates participating in the pro bono program receive up to 50 hours of billable credit for work on pro bono matters – hours that actually do count toward the annual billable hour requirement. Attorneys are free to develop projects that fit their interests or join existing projects offered by the firm. Examples of pro bono work by the firm’s attorneys include the United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit’s pro bono program, the “Lawyers in the Library” program at the Sacramento County Public Law Library, immigration law matters, child advocacy matters, and formation of non-profit organizations, to name but a few. Currently, Downey Brand attorneys are working with the California Rural Legal Assistance Program to assist minority students who are facing expulsion proceedings. Programs like these provide young attorneys with an opportunity to advise economically challenged clients and act as “first-chair” on cases with important consequences to real people.
We also encourage and support attorneys who participate in the community through other avenues such as board involvement and charitable organizations. Some attorneys choose to focus on a cause they are passionate about and others choose to participate through long-standing firm projects that support charitable causes. One such example is the firm’s work with Legal Services of Northern California (LSNC), whose mission is to provide quality legal services to empower the poor to identify and defeat the causes and effects of poverty within our community. As an annual sponsor of the LSNC’s “Race for Justice” (a.k.a. Valentine Run/Walk), attorneys and staff join together to improve their health and the health of our community.
The firm actively helps attorneys obtain board positions with organizations that resonate with their personal interests and goals. One of our associates who is passionate about providing better access to education currently serves on the board for an organization with such a mission. Another attorney with a personal connection to a local children’s hospital serves on its advisory board. We believe the best way to attract and retain talented attorneys is to give them the tools and the platform to engage their passion and effect change in the wider community.
FIRM CULTURE & QUALITY OF LIFE
Downey Brand’s attorneys, while serious about their work, enjoy an informal and collegial work environment. The attorneys’ reasonable billable hour requirement enables them to provide excellent client service while also devoting time to their personal lives and outside interests. The firm hosts social events throughout the year to facilitate and strengthen relationships within the firm, including associate-planned bonding events, firm parties, picnics, receptions, and the annual retreat.
The firm’s Executive Committee communicates regularly and clearly to everyone in the firm about initiatives and goals, and gives updates on progress and status in interactive meetings. Attorneys and staff provide input about things the firm can do to improve communication and processes, and provide them with the tools they need to be successful. Internal and external training, mentoring, and marketing support are provided by the firm to further that goal. An Associate Liaison Committee, nominated and elected by our associates, meets for lunch with the firm’s Managing Partner each month to discuss matters of importance to the associates.
SUMMER ASSOCIATE PROGRAM
Downey Brand’s summer associate program provides a dynamic learning experience that deeply engages students socially and professionally. Each year, the firm selects a group of second year law students to work with for 11 weeks during the summer. The program is designed to both assess and catalyze each summer associate’s potential to become a successful associate with the firm upon graduation from law school. Summer associates work on real assignments and active cases to give them a sense of what life is like for first year associates at the firm. Summer associates are encouraged to attend depositions, court hearings and client meetings with the firm’s attorneys. Various partners in the firm give presentations explaining the work they do and encourage summer associates to ask questions they may have about our many practice areas. Each summer associate’s individual mentors help them acquire work assignments, provide information and advice, and make themselves available to answer any questions the summer associate may have.
The summer program’s many social events provide ample opportunity to build relationships with the firm’s attorneys and staff in a relaxed setting while having fun. Examples of past events include golf tournaments, baseball games, bowling tournaments, cocktail parties, and firm picnics.