Devon Downs is a rising star among workplace safety attorneys in the United States. She works with energy companies, chemical manufacturers, and pulp and paper companies on a wide range of process safety and workplace safety matters. She has played lead roles in the responses to major industrial incidents and often is her client’s point of contact with agencies such as the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). She directs the legal team and subject matter experts coordinating evidence control, root cause analysis, witness interviews, and document production. She then represents clients in subsequent enforcement.
Devon also counsels clients on day-to-day workplace safety compliance under both the federal program and state plans in California and Washington. Licensed in both Texas and California, her California experience is extensive. Devon is well known to inspectors and managers for the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) having advised employers in connection with over forty workplace inspections carried out by DOSH. She also represents clients in appeals of alleged violations before the California Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board.
Devon is well versed in the EPA's Clean Air Act Risk Management Program (RMP) and other laws intended to prevent accidental releases, including California's Accidental Release Prevention (CalARP) program. She successfully negotiated the first Consent Decree with a Unified Program Authority under the new CalARP Program 4 requirements applicable to California refineries. She also regularly works with clients in response to EPA requests for information.
Devon conducts privileged audits determining PSM/RMP applicability to operating unit boundaries and workplace safety compliance. She also advises employers on organizational safety culture, including the safety culture assessments required by California’s new Process Safety Management for Petroleum Refineries (California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 5189.1) and the Contra Costa County Industrial Safety Ordinance.
Devon is known for her commitment to excellent client service. In recognition of this commitment, Devon was named to BTI Client Service All-Stars as a senior associate in 2019. What makes the achievement remarkable is that BTI’s goal each year is to be objective and transparent in its rankings. Corporate legal decision makers single out each All-Star attorney—by name and in an unprompted manner—as delivering the absolute best client service. Attorneys and firms cannot self-nominate or self-refer. Only 335 attorneys nationwide received this recognition, and Devon was one of only two associates in the United States honored by BTI that year.
Devon is a life fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, the largest charitably funded bar foundation in the nation. The Foundation’s members are nominated because of their dedication to the administration of justice and high professional standing among their peers.
BTI Client Service All Star, 2019
Articles and Speeches
Speaker, 2019 California Process Safety Management Seminar, Concord, California (March 25 and 26, 2019)
Speaker, Responding to Major Industrial Accidents: AFPM Tabletop Drill, American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) 2018 General Counsels' Forum, Washington, DC (October 2, 2018)
Speaker, Institute of Energy Law, 11th Annual Young Energy Professionals' General Counsel Forum, Houston, Texas (September 20, 2018)
Presenter, Recent Developments in Pulp and Paper Process Safety Management, Pulp and Paper Safety Association Webinar (July 24, 2018)
Speaker, 2018 California Process Safety Management Seminar, Torrance, California (February 6 and February 8, 2018)
Panelist, Communications in the Time of Corporate Crisis: Responding to a Natural Disaster, San Antonio, Texas (October 2, 2017)
Speaker, 2017 California Process Safety Management Seminar, Torrance, California (February 21 and February 23, 2017)
Co-Author, The Chemical Safety Board: An Agency at a Crossroads, Bloomberg BNA Insights (June 22, 2016)
Speaker, 2016 California Process Safety Management Seminar, Torrance, California (April 26, 2016)
JD, University of California, Hastings College of the Law
BA, Occidental College