Downey Brand LLP at a Glance


  • “Wonderful working environment”
  • “Low hours”
  • “Legal support staff is great”


  • “Lack of flexibility”
  • “Diversity is lacking”
  • “Pay”

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. Now with nearly 100 attorneys of its own, Downey Brand is the city'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. The firm maintains an office in many of central California's other major commercial hubs, including San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Stockton, as well as an outpost in Reno, Nevada.

Litigating over Land-and Water

Downey Brand boasts strong general commercial litigation practice. Many of the region's leading companies trust their most significant litigation to Downey Brand-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, covering the waterfront for both plaintiffs and defendants in business, employment, qui tam, class action, securities, antitrust, shareholder and partnership disputes, probate, healthcare, intellectual property, federal and state investigations, construction, wild land fire, real estate and environmental matters. As but one example of a recent success, after four years of litigation, Downey Brand obtained what is likely the highest sanction award in California state history-more than $32 million-against a state agency for egregious discovery abuses and fraud in establishing an "off-book" account without the approval of the Department of Finance.

The firm's environmental, land use, and water litigation groups also enjoy great success. Since 2008, the firm has battled in both trial and appellate courts on behalf of Sacramento River water districts and farmers against a Natural Resources Defense Council challenge to historic water rights along the Sacramento River. Although that litigation continues, Downey Brand's efforts have also continued, both to preserve those water rights and safeguard the vitality of the Sacramento Valley's agricultural economy.

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, non-profits, 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. In 2015, Downey Brand served as lead counsel to one of the largest Sacramento-based companies in a complex leveraged shareholder buyout involving multiple credit facilities, which transaction allowed the company to remain family-owned and operated. The firm also recently guided a publicly-traded financial institution through a complex merger transaction involving intricate business and structural issues together with regulatory approvals that significantly expanded the financial institution's California footprint, raising its total assets to over $1 billion and increasing its market capitalization to approximately $100 million.

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Downey Brand LLP

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


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chairman and Managing Partner: Scott Shapiro
  • Recruiting Chair: Cassandra Ferrannini
  • Total No. Attorneys 2017: 92

  • Base Salary
    1st year: $110,000
    Summer associate: $2,100/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    out of 4 (2Ls) (2016)

  • Major Departments & Practices

    Aerospace • Appellate & Writ Practice • Banking & Financial Institutions • Bankruptcy & Insolvency • CEQA / NEPA • Class Action Defense • Climate Change & Sustainability • Construction • Corporate Finance • Corporate Law • Disability Access • Emerging Companies & Venture Capital • Eminent Domain & Inverse Condemnation • Employment Counseling • Endangered Species • Environmental Enforcement Defense • Environmental Remediation & Due Diligence • Equine • Family Law • Financial Institutions • Flood Protection Law • Food & Agriculture • Food Safety • Higher Education • Insurance • Intellectual Property & Licensing • Land Use • Litigation • Mergers & Acquisitions • Municipalities • Nonprofit/Tax-Exempt Organizations • Privacy & Data Integrity • Products Liability • Retail • Real Estate • Regulatory Law & Business Permitting • Taxation • Water Rights & Resources • Water Quality Law • Wealth Transfer

Major Office Locations

  • Sacramento, CA (HQ) • Reno, NV • San Francisco, CA • Stockton, CA • Silicon Valley, CA