Skip to Main Content
Go to Why Work Here page
Downey Brand LLP logo

Downey Brand LLP

At a Glance


“The people I work with.”

“Work-life balance.”


“Lack of diversity and employee wellness programs.”

“There can be still higher compensation and additional transparency.”

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 5 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. With additional offices in San Francisco; Stockton; and Reno, Nevada, the firm is well established in northern California and Nevada. 

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 toxics 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 is supporting long-term telework arrangements, which include virtual interviewing. We have continued to recruit and hire throughout this time. Newly hired attorneys are provided technological and other support for training, integration, and workload purposes. Our 2020 summer program, though delayed and shortened, did proceed, and summer associates were permitted to work in person or remotely based on their personal preferences. OCIs and callbacks for 2021 will be virtual, and work arrangements for the program will depend on the state of the pandemic at the time the program begins (and be adjusted as necessary).

Why Work Here


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.

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 (2021):
50 - 100
No. of Partners Named 2021:
Billable-Hour Requirement:

Base Salary

All Offices Except San Francisco
1st year: $120,000
Summer Associate: $2,300/week
San Francisco
1st year: $145,000
Summer Associate $2,750/week

Employment Contact

Maureen Cooper
Recruiting Director
(916) 520-5483

No. of U.S. Offices: 4

No. of International Offices: 0

Major Office Locations

Reno, NV
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 practices and industries.