A well-established northern California firm, Downey Brand serves the region’s clients in a number of practice areas and industries. Those seeking environmental law will find their interest piqued by the firm’s prominent natural resources group, which works in such areas as air quality, energy, environmental enforcement defense, environmental remediation, land use, and water law. The firm also serves as outside general counsel for many of Northern California’s leading companies, including privately held and family-owned entities, nonpro...

Firm Stats


Total No. Attorneys (2023)

50 - 100


No. of Partners Named (2023)



Featured Rankings

Top 150 Under 150


No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2023)



No. of Summer Associates (2022)

6 total (5 2Ls; 1 1L)


Base Salary

Sacramento/Stockton1st Year                $155,000.00

Vault Verdict

If you like California and work-life balance, you should give Downey Brand a look. The firm’s culture is described as nice and professional, with some out-of-work socialization but no pressure to engage in such. Partners are said to uniformly value, appreciate, and respect associates, and transparency is rated more highly than peer firms as well. The firm’s billable hour requirement of 1,750 is lower than average, and while compensation is also below market, associates generally feel that the lower hours more than balance this. Quality of work receives glowing reviews, with associates uniformly happy with the level of substantive work they are assigned. Technology is good, with support available as needed, seamless remote work, and tech stipends to set up home offices. While the f...

About the Firm

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 th...

Associate Reviews

  • “The firm's culture and vibe are collegial. We socialize together maybe once a month.”
  • “The best part about Downey Brand is the people. Everyone is friendly and willing to provide help whenever it is needed.”
  • “Lots of firm events, especially to celebrate holidays and socialize over the summer.”
  • “Generally, very congenial and pleasant. There is some after-hours socialization, but not a lot. I have never felt like it is expected. Atmosphere is casual. Interactions with staff are pleasant and friendly, in my experience.”

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.

Getting Hired Here

  • “Law school attended, good grades, commitment to the location (Sacramento, San Francisco, or Stockton), personality and fit.”
  • “The firm prefers those who are at the top of their class and graduated from an ABA-accredited school.”
  • “Our firm recruits well, as it has a good and wide-reaching reputation, but the compensation and lack of diversity hurt the firm. The firm has feeder schools, mainly Hastings, Davis, and McGeorge.”
  • “New associates were summers, mostly all from California schools. Others at the firm, along with myself, clerked before joining. Competitive clerkship bonus for the market.”

Perks & Benefits

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