Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Downey Brand is committed to fostering and maintaining a strong culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. To that end, the firm works hard to attract, retain, and promote individuals of differing races, religions, ethnicities, genders and gender identities, family structures, sexual orientations, and backgrounds.
The firm encourages and supports its attorneys’ memberships and participation in diverse bar associations, community organizations, and events. These include the Sacramento Chinese of Indochina Friendship Association, the Sacramento County Bar Diversity Career Forum, the annual Unity Bar Dinner, the annual King Hall Outreach Program luncheon, Women in Environment, Women in Leadership, and Women Lawyers of Sacramento.
Downey Brand’s number of female partners, female associates, and female attorneys overall each rank above the national average for law firms. Female partners also lead one of the firm’s three practice departments, serve on the firm’s executive committee, and hold other key management positions such as diversity partner, hiring partner, marketing partner, and pro bono partner. In 2023, Janlynn Fleener became the firm’s first female managing partner.
Downey Brand’s strategy for increasing diversity within our law firm focuses on a far-reaching approach that goes well beyond the confines of our individual business.
Our commitment to diversity begins with our support of “pipeline” programs such as the UC Davis School of Law King Hall Outreach Program (KHOP), an initiative that helps college students from underrepresented communities learn about law school and prepare for the admissions process. The KHOP initiative also reaches into high schools with a series of workshops that help students learn skills and explore legal career paths. Additionally, the firm provides internships for high school students from Cristo Rey, a Catholic, co-ed college prep school that provides quality education for students from diverse, low-income families.
Downey Brand is a founding member of the Sacramento County Bar Association’s Diversity Fellowship Program, which places first-year minority and disadvantaged law students in summer internships with Sacramento-area law firms for professional experience.
Downey Brand is a named sponsor of the California ChangeLawyer’s Diversity Scholarship Program, which supports newly admitted law students from diverse backgrounds during their first year of law school. Originally affiliated with the California State Bar as the California Bar Foundation, California ChangeLawyer promotes equal access to the justice system and strives to build a better legal community reflective of California’s diverse population.
Downey Brand is also a founding member of the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law’s Sacramento Legal Employers Diversity Collective, which focuses on advancing diversity within the legal profession by exposing young students and prospective attorneys to well-known legal organizations. The program, which launched in 2020 connects 30 of the largest legal employers in the Sacramento area with McGeorge School of Law to establish new and strengthen existing networks between the university, local schools, and legal employers.
Downey Brand is a member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), an organization comprised of corporate chief legal officers and law firm managing partners who are committed to “leading by example, taking action, and challenging the legal profession to prepare future generations of diverse talent for the highest positions of leadership.” In addition to the overarching organization, several programs within the LCLD umbrella are designed to assist younger attorneys as they gain experience, such as the LCLD Fellows Program and the LCLD Pathfinders Program. Each year since joining, Downey Brand has had a diverse attorney participate in each of the yearlong programs. Past participants include Hina Gupta and Tyler Horn (2022) and Kelly Breen and Daria Gossett (2023).
And still, we know we can do more. The firm strives to include diversity considerations in our mentoring, professional development training, business development, and strategic planning.