Law Firm Downey Brand Names Six New Partners

December 12, 2017

Sacramento Business Journal

By Scott Rodd for Sacramento Business Journal

Six new partners at Downey Brand LLP come from a range of practices within the Sacramento region’s largest law firm, including water resource litigation, trust and estate litigation and family law.

Downey Brand chairman Bill Warne said it’s not typical for every candidate in a given year to be approved for partner — but this year’s group was exceptionally talented.

“When you have six people up for partner and they all make it, it’s not a decision that happens in the moment,” Warne told the Business Journal. “It’s something that’s years in the making.”

The new partners are Sophia B. Castillo, Arielle O. Harris, Tyson E. Hubbard, Thomas E. Marrs, Meredith E. Nikkel and James Robertson.

Nikkel is part of Downey Brand’s water resource litigation practice — an area of law that has a rich history at the firm. Stephen Downey, one of the firm’s founders, was deeply involved in water and flood control issues dating back to the 1920s. Nikkel sees her works as a continuation of this legacy.

“It’s an interesting mix of law, policy and science,” she said.

Prior to Downey Brand, Nikkel practiced business litigation at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.

With her elevation to partner, Nikkel hopes to take up the mantle of the attorneys she has worked under for nearly six years.

“I see this as the next step to being the main lawyer that our clients look to, following in the footsteps of those before me like Kevin O’Brien, Steve Saxton and David Aladjem, who have worked on these issues at Downey Brand for decades,”  Nikkel said.

Tyson Hubbard joined Downey Brand three years ago, switching from commercial litigation to his current practice of trust and estate litigation. Prior to Downey Brand, Hubbard practiced at Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott LLC in Boston.

Trust and estate litigation, according to Hubbard, is a “quickly evolving and growing field.”

“We’re on the verge of the greatest transfer of wealth in the country’s history as the baby boomer generation continues to age and will pass along its assets to the next generation,” he said.

The number of conservatorship cases — where an individual or organization is appointed to manage an aging adult’s finances — filed in Sacramento Superior Court have increased by 40 percent in recent years, Hubbard said.

Trust and estate litigation can be intense, intimate work that involves working closely with clients on sensitive issues. Being named partner, Hubbard said, is an opportunity to commit himself to working in the Sacramento community on trust and estate cases for years to come.