Firm Furthers its Bay Area Presence with Strategic Expansion of Natural Resources Practice

(SAN FRANCISCO, CA) Downey Brand, a prominent full-service law firm known also for its statewide prowess in natural resources, water, land use, and environmental matters, is pleased to announce that six attorneys previously with Goodin, MacBride, Squeri & Day specializing in public utility regulation have joined its San Francisco office. With the arrival of veteran attorneys Thomas MacBride, James Squeri, Michael Day, Brian Cragg, Megan Somogyi, and associate Nirvesh Sikand the firm has expanded to 16 attorneys in its San Francisco office and more than 100 attorneys firm-wide.

“This is an exciting development for our firm,” said Downey Brand Managing Partner Scott Shapiro. “Expanding the depth and versatility of our San Francisco office (and the stature of the firm’s multidisciplinary natural resources department) by adding a public utility practice is a key strategic opportunity for the firm.” Christian Marsh, a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and senior land use partner in the San Francisco office emphasized, “Downey Brand has always offered a unique blend of services to public and private clients in the environmental, natural resources, and energy sectors. The combined experience and excellent reputation of the Goodin MacBride team is a tremendous addition and provides us with a solid foundation for further expansion in these developing areas of practice.”

Kathryn Oehlschlager, the Executive Partner of Downey Brand’s San Francisco office, added, “We are beyond thrilled to grow our San Francisco team and are excited to collaborate on the unique cross-serving opportunities this presents. We have several mutual clients, and we are confident that the natural synergies between our practices will benefit our clients immensely.”

The public utility attorneys from Goodin MacBride are recognized as among the top practitioners in their field, representing clients before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and other state agencies that regulate electric, natural gas, energy and water utilities, telecommunications providers, and certain transportation companies. Additionally, they guide clients in appeals from regulatory agency decisions and advocate legislative issues impacting energy and utilities regulation throughout California. Senior partners have held influential positions in key state agencies, giving the department unmatched experience in this highly specialized field. Clients include a broad spectrum of electric generators, energy storage developers, transmission companies, telecommunications carriers, natural gas pipeline and storage providers, petroleum pipelines, and water utilities.

Tom MacBride, co-founder of Goodin MacBride’s regulatory group noted his lifelong interest in, and respect for, Downey Brand, stating that “as one born and raised in Sacramento, I became familiar with the firm’s stellar reputation at an early age. My father, Thomas MacBride, lawyer, legislator, and U.S. District Judge always spoke very highly of the firm’s attorneys, in particular John F. “Jack” Downey. Accordingly, I could not be more pleased that our public utility group is joining Downey Brand, a firm that I have always associated with the top tier of the legal profession and that, today, has the skills to serve our clients that are so complementary to those we have developed at Goodin MacBride.”

Michael Day, Goodin MacBride Managing Partner and former Acting General Counsel of the CPUC, added that, “we were attracted to Downey Brand because of their expertise in water, air quality, waste water management, and other environmental regulatory matters. Clearly they understand what is necessary to practice administrative law before California state agencies, and that convinced us that our practice would fit in well with the firm’s overall strategic goals.”

More About the Public Utility Team

Thomas MacBride co-founded the Goodin MacBride regulatory group in 1985 and has practiced before the CPUC for over 45 years representing the interests of ground and water transportation providers, publicly and privately owned water service providers, telecommunications and energy companies, real estate developers, and municipalities, among others. Tom participated in drafting and advocacy leading to the enactment of the Calderon-Peace-MacBride Judicial Review Act of 1998, greatly enlarging the scope of judicial review of CPUC decisions. A former attorney at the CPUC, Tom earned his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1975 and holds a B.S. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.

James Squeri represents clients in all aspects of regulation affecting the supply, delivery, and consumption of natural gas, electricity, and oil. Before joining Goodin MacBride in 1986, James was in-house counsel to the CPUC and served as an administrative law judge. James is a Stanford University graduate and earned his J.D. from Boston University School of Law in 1975.

Michael Day has a statewide practice representing the interests of clients in natural gas and electric ratemaking proceedings, natural gas and electric transmission siting cases, and wireless telecommunications cases. Much of his practice focuses on the creation of competitive  energy markets in California, primarily through advocacy before the CPUC, as well as through legislation under consideration by the California Legislature. Mike spent nine years in the legal division at the CPUC as lead counsel in natural gas matters and later as acting general counsel. Mike earned his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1976 and his B.A. from Cornell University.

Brian Cragg practices before the CPUC and other regulatory agencies with a special emphasis on energy matters. His clients range from solar, wind, geothermal, landfill gas, and other renewable energy producers to owners and operators of conventional electric power plants and energy storage companies. Before joining Goodin MacBride, Brian spent 18 years at the CPUC as an assistant chief administrative law judge involved in matters ranging from rate cases and mergers to cost reviews of nuclear power plants. Brian is a Yale University graduate and earned his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1977.

Megan Somogyi has a decade of experience in regulatory, transactional, and appellate matters relating to public utilities, with a focus on energy, transportation, and water. She represents municipalities and utility clients in electric transmission line siting proceedings, ratemaking litigation, sale and transfer of electric utility property, and utility certification proceedings before the CPUC and other regulatory agencies, with the occasional trip to the appellate courts. She also has significant expertise on CPUC regulation of utility wildfire prevention and proactive de-energization of power lines. Megan earned her J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 2011 and her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Nirvesh Sikand assists clients with a variety of regulatory matters before the CPUC, where he also interned during law school, gaining valuable experience from his research of cases involving the regulation of energy, telecommunications, water, and transportation. Nirvesh earned his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 2018, where he served on the editorial board of the Hastings Environmental Law Journal, as well as a senior editor at the Hastings Business Law Journal. He received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles.

More About Downey Brand and Its Natural Resource Department

Founded 95 years ago in California’s capital city, Downey Brand is a preeminent full-service law firm well-known for its deep industry knowledge in natural resources, as well as its breadth of business practices and litigation strength. With over 100 attorneys, it is the largest law firm based in Sacramento. It operates in California and Nevada, with headquarters in Sacramento and additional offices in San Francisco, Stockton, and Reno.

The firm’s Natural Resources Department is one of the largest and most diverse practice groups of its kind in California. With 39 attorneys, it’s a well-coordinated, multi-disciplinary team with deep experience handling litigation and regulatory compliance in a broad spectrum of specialties, including all aspects of water, land, and air. Areas of expertise within the department include water rights, flood protection, water quality, endangered species, energy, land use, environmental, hazardous waste and toxics, air quality and climate change, and now, public utility regulation. For more information, visit www.downeybrand.com.

Tags: San Francisco, CPUC, Law Firm, natural gas, Transportation, Natural Resources, water utilities, Public Utility Regulation, petroleum pipelines, telecommunications carriers, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Goodin MacBride, Downey Brand, natural gas pipeline and storage providers, Electric Generators