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Sacramento's Downey Brand Comes to San Francisco; Nabs Environmental Law Heavyweights Zachary Walton and Jon Welner to Lead Expansion

Downey Brand, one of California's largest law firms with headquarters in Sacramento, has opened a San Francisco office with the additions of Partners Zachary R. Walton and Jon Welner, who both join from Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker.
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA, February 12, 2010 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Downey Brand, one of California's largest law firms with headquarters in Sacramento, has opened a San Francisco office with the additions of Partners Zachary R. Walton and Jon Welner, who both join from Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker. Walton was Vice Chair of Paul Hastings' San Francisco office and Co-chair of its Sustainability and Global Climate Change practice. Welner, in addition to having a well-established environmental practice, previously served as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company and is known for having a strong focus on the needs of business. Walton and Welner will co-chair Downey Brand's new office and augment the firm's bench strength in the environmental and land use areas.

"At Downey Brand, we pride ourselves on being nimble. We quickly mobilize to respond to opportunities and changes within our clients' businesses and the marketplace generally. The opening of our San Francisco office is an example of this," said Downey Brand's Firmwide Managing Partner Jeffrey M. Koewler. "We have a robust environmental practice that spans a variety of related disciplines, from climate change and clean tech to land use and real estate, and Zack and Jon are ideal, Bay Area-focused complements to our existing group. The opportunity to not only deepen our bench, but to expand our footprint in California was simply too good to pass up - particularly when we already have clients that will benefit from our presence in downtown San Francisco."

Downey Brand's new San Francisco office will be temporarily located at One Market Street, Spear Tower, 36th Floor. The firm is currently looking for a permanent location and anticipates strategic growth in the market.

"It is a sign of the times," said Welner. "Sophisticated clients are looking to firms that can be more responsive and offer a better rate structure, and our move to Downey Brand is in keeping with client demand."

Walton added, "We are finding there is also great interest on the part of lawyers who are tired of the 'big law' way of doing business and who have an entrepreneurial bent. We are committed to growing the local office with laterals in complementary practice areas, such as real estate, energy and project finance, and employment."

In his environmental practice, Walton represents energy and water providers, developers, financial institutions, and industrial facilities in transactions and permitting and enforcement matters concerning air quality, water rights, water supply, water quality, endangered species, hazardous waste, contaminated properties and occupational safety and health. Recently appointed to the Executive Committee for the Environmental Law Section of the State Bar of California, Walton has authored numerous articles on water rights, water quality, endangered species, environmental justice and climate change. He received his J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School (1995) and his B.A., with distinction, in history from the University of California, Berkeley (1992).

Welner represents private companies and public agencies on a wide range of environmental and natural resource issues, and on "prevailing wage" matters. He has worked extensively in real estate, particularly redevelopment of contaminated properties; handled early transfer and clean-up of closed military bases; developed sophisticated legal compliance systems for large companies; and advised on the myriad environmental issues faced by entities doing business in California. His clients include real estate developers and companies in biotechnology, energy, water and waste recycling. Welner has built a statewide reputation as a leading practitioner of prevailing wage law. He represented the developer in the case that established the "Brownfields exemption" to prevailing wage requirements. Welner also has extensive experience in commercial leasing and the regulation of radioactive materials. He previously served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency. Welner earned his J.D. from Stanford Law School (1995) and his A.B., with distinction, in political science from Stanford University (1989).

Legal Recruiter Erin McClure, founder of Emerald and formerly of McClure & Feuer, put the deal together on behalf of Downey Brand.

Downey Brand, one of the largest law firms in California, has focused on offering practical business solutions for more than 80 years. With offices in Sacramento, Reno, Roseville, San Francisco and Stockton, Downey Brand advises and represents clients in almost every major area of civil practice. For additional information, visit the firm's Web site at

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Traci Stuart / Chuck Brown
Blattel Communications
415.397.4811 /

Jeffrey M. Koewler, Managing Partner
Downey Brand

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