Downey Brand has some of the most knowledgeable and resourceful trial and appellate lawyers in Northern California, with extensive experience in state, federal and administrative tribunals throughout California and beyond. Our law firm has a proven record of successfully handling a wide variety of complex, high-stakes cases for many of the region’s leading companies.

With more than 60 litigators, our law firm has the area’s largest litigation department, and the means to successfully and effectively manage all aspects of complex and often discovery-intensive litigation. As Sacramento’s largest law firm, our litigation team is large enough to staff the most substantial matters, yet tight-knit enough to remain focused and efficient. Additionally, because of our reputation in Northern California, our team continues to be challenged with contentious, high-profile, “bet-the-company” litigation. Our experience and depth enable us to provide our clients with efficient, value-driven service, and to achieve favorable results.

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Trial Experience

Downey Brand’s litigation philosophy is tied to our experience trying cases to verdict and the attendant ability to prepare cases for trial. More so today than ever before, many “litigators” have never taken a case through trial. Attorneys in Downey Brand’s litigation department are true trial lawyers with a well-earned reputation of success in the courtroom. We give our clients the best chance of resolving matters against parties (and lawyers) who want to avoid the courtroom, and give those clients who find themselves before a jury peace of mind.

Specialty Litigation

Well-known for high-profile complex business litigation, Downey Brand is also home to seasoned litigators who have developed deep experience in specialized areas of the law.  Our employment litigators regularly defend employers in state and federal court against all types of labor and employment litigation; represent employers [or management] during audits and investigations; and help them with proactive training and document management. Downey Brand’s intellectual property litigators have fought and won trademark and IP infringement cases in the technology, agribusiness, financial services, and manufacturing industries, among others.  Our food and agriculture litigators have handled pesticide drift, crop damage, and food labeling litigation, as well as ag-related water, IP, and Prop 65 matters. 

Downey Brand’s real estate litigators represent clients from lenders and investors to developers, contractors, and public entities in a wide range of real property and land use matters. The firm has a leading eminent domain and inverse condemnation practice, which defends landowners and businesses against governmental eminent domain actions and handles complex property acquisitions from planning through trial and appeal. Our construction litigation experience spans public and private works and includes the entire construction spectrum.

Our trust and estate litigators defend estate planning documents, represent fiduciaries, and handle a wide variety of family disputes.  The Firm’s family law group is well-known for handling high-stakes disputes involving family businesses and interests. 

Downey Brand is also home to some of California’s top environmental and natural resources litigators. The firm is currently handling dozens of active CEQA, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and related natural resources cases at various stages of trial and on appeal across the state. Our CEQA litigation experience is uniquely broad. We have defended challenges to project- and program-level environmental impact reports (EIRs) for a wide variety of activities including water supply and water rights projects, public infrastructure, energy and mining, and residential and mixed-use development projects. Our water rights litigators have decades of experience representing clients before federal and state courts as well as administrative boards.

The Firm’s already substantial appellate and writ practice expanded in 2017 when Certified Appellate Specialist Jay-Allen Eisen brought his practice to Downey Brand. Eisen has been counsel in more than 300 appeals and appellate writs, and his name appears on over 120 published decisions.  Downey Brand’s appellate practitioners handle appeals in both state and federal courts in a wide range of practice areas.

Our class action defense litigators have defended and successfully resolved numerous complicated class actions for a diverse array of local and national businesses, including clients in the manufacturing, high tech, banking and financial services, retail and consumer goods/services, healthcare, and construction sectors. 

We are acutely aware that clients need not only excellent legal service but also service that is cost-effective and practical. Indeed, often one of the biggest challenges in a litigation matter can be controlling fees and costs; we understand and appreciate that, and actively work with our clients to manage legal costs.

Alternative/Early Dispute Resolution

Many of our clients’ complex litigation matters resolve through settlement. Because the expense of litigation can be significant — both in terms of legal fees and out-of-pocket costs, as well as lost management/employee time and disruption in day-to-day operations — we believe that it is never too early to think about positioning a litigation matter for a negotiated resolution. Downey Brand’s litigators are strategic and skillful negotiators, and therefore we are often able to negotiate favorable settlements without the expense of a neutral.

In cases where private mediation is our client’s best option, we excel. Given the size of our litigation department and our long-standing presence in the region, we have a depth of knowledge on the various panels of neutrals.  We understand the skill sets and credentials of the region’s mediators, and are effective at advising our clients during the important decision about selection of a mediator.  And because we are Sacramento’s oldest and largest law firm with a reputation of successfully representing our clients at trial, Downey Brand’s litigators often get the benefit of the doubt in mediation.

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