Best Places to Work: Downey Brand is Top Honoree Among Large Companies

October 19, 2020

Sacramento Business Journal

The Sacramento Business Journal has announced it’s Best Places to Work honorees for 2020. Downey Brand is the top honoree in the large-company category, for businesses with 150 to 499 employees. Click here to view our press release regarding this award.

Read the full article below, or subscribers can view the article on the Sacramento Business Journal’s website.

By Brooke Strickland, Contributor, Sacramento Business Journal

We’re introducing you to our 2020 Best Places to Work. Downey Brand is the top honoree in the large-company category, for businesses with 150 to 499 employees.

Founded in 1926, Downey Brand is one of Sacramento’s most prominent law firms, with some 90 attorneys and 75 staff members in Sacramento, San Francisco, Stockton and Reno.

The Sacramento-based firm has expertise in more than 40 areas of law, with attorneys taking a personalized approach in offering creative solutions for clients. Downey Brand’s core values of professional excellence, collaboration, client focus and efficiency have helped the firm continue to grow and thrive, even during a national disaster.

Since the pandemic, firm employees have been mostly working remotely, and management hosts regular Zoom calls to check in with staff on an individual basis. And while regular in-person events and celebrations aren’t currently happening, Downey Brand has been making efforts to continue to bring people together. Events like virtual happy hours, team trivia, game nights as well as whiskey and wine tastings are some of the activities the company uses to promote relationship building.

The firm also recently did a special “Zoo Zoom” in partnership with the Sacramento Zoo that gave participants a behind-the-scenes look at the zoo animals and their habitats.

Managing Partner Scott Shapiro said that while the pandemic has changed the way the firm does business and engages its employees, the focus on people has never wavered.

“The way we work lends itself to collaboration that allows individual’s strengths to shine within their teams,” he said. “Treating people well, keeping them engaged and nurturing their talent helps with retention. Above all, our purpose is to help solve the problems that keep our clients up at night and to help them succeed with their business and personal endeavors. The people who make our business successful are valued and are, in large part, what determines whether or not we like going to work. They are what makes Downey Brand a great place to work.”

Shapiro added that the firm, as it has in its nine decades of operations, continues to attract people who want to be part of interesting and challenging legal projects. From the first day that a new attorney or staff member starts at Downey Brand, they are encouraged to get to know each client and understand their objectives, challenges and opportunities.

Cindy Snook, director of human resources, said her favorite part about working at Downey Brand is the people. “They are smart, hard-working, courteous and a true pleasure to work with,” she said. “I feel very fortunate to work here. It has been the best job I have had in my legal career of over 40 years.”

Downey Brand LLP

A law firm that serves clients in business, natural resources and litigation matters throughout California, Northern Nevada and beyond.

Top local executive: Scott Shapiro, managing partner

Number of local employees: 152

Headquarters: Sacramento

How has Covid-19 impacted your workplace? “We are fortunate that much of our work can be done remotely while maintaining service to clients. Working remotely as a firm has made it challenging in some respects to collaborate; our employees pulled together to make it work. The impact to productivity was temporary and things have since stabilized.”

How have you maintained employee morale during the pandemic? “Our managing partner hosts Zoom calls giving updates on the firm so no one is left wondering where things stand or the impact on them. Our HR director conducts wellness checks, as we know everyone has unique living arrangements, personal obligations and stressors that affect them as they work remotely.”

Do you anticipate making any long-term changes to your workplace as a result of the pandemic? “Advances in technology and the demands of social distancing have demonstrated that the workplace environment is quickly evolving. We are not so foolish as to believe we can predict how it will continue to evolve in the future; rather, we will need to be flexible in accommodating that future.”

What is the biggest mistake a business owner or manager can make? “Not listen to the needs of his or her employees and clients.”