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Webinar: Legal Career Paths During COVID-19: Private Practice Perspectives, Part 2

July 22, 2020 @ 12:00 pm 1:15 pm

A Discussion Series Presented by the Environmental Law Section, California Lawyers Association

Across the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted everyday life, caused thousands of deaths, and unleased unprecedented economic stress not seen since the 2008 Great Recession. These economic conditions have had an impact on the legal profession. Private law firms and in-house divisions are instituting pay cuts and reducing staff; local, state, and federal agencies are facing severe budget deficits leading to furloughs and hiring freezes; and non-profit legal organizations are seeing dwindling contributions and grants.

For attorneys and recent law school graduates, this economic uncertainty will present serious challenges to securing and/or retaining employment or a practice. What effect will this pandemic have on the legal profession? How should practitioners and recent law school graduates prepare to avoid career setbacks? What are lessons learned from previous economic recessions?

In this last installment, join practitioners from the private sector for a discussion about how law firms are being affected by COVID-19 and what students and practitioners should do to navigate through these times.


  • Marisa S. Choy, Associate, Greenberg Glusker, Los Angeles
  • Sara A. Clark, Partner, Shute, Milhaly & Weinberger, San Francisco
  • Lauren D. Layne, Partner, Baker Manock & Jensen, PC, Fresno
  • Bret Stone, Founder and Partner, Paladin Law Group, Santa Barbara

Moderator: Cyndy Day-Wilson, Law Office of Cyndy Day-Wilson, Eureka

Owner of DW LAW, Cyndy Day-Wilson provides advice and litigation services to clients in the agricultural industry, business development and operations, real estate, and employment arenas mainly in Humboldt County, California. A former City Attorney for the City of Eureka, she easily navigates the public agency bureaucracy of permitting, land use, business regulations, and environmental issues associated with business and industry. She is currently lead counsel on several civil rights violations cases in state and federal court involving First Amendment violations and a hate crime.

Ms. Day-Wilson obtained her law Degree from the University of Idaho (1986) and LL.M. (“Masters of Law”) in Environmental Law (1995) from The George Washington University School of Law in Washington, D.C. Admitted to practice in Idaho (1986) and California (1988). She was a member of the Executive Committee of the Environmental Law Section from 2003 to 2006 and now serves as an Advisor. She has been the Editor of the Environmental Law Update since 2007. She also serves as general counsel and as a board member to several non-profits in Humboldt County.

Marisa S. Choy is an attorney in the Environmental Practice Group at Greenberg Glusker LLP, a single-office, full-service law firm based out of Century City. Marisa advises clients in enforcement actions, environmental litigation, and administrative agency proceedings. She also provides regulatory compliance and due diligence counseling for real estate, corporate, and renewable energy transactions. Marisa studied environmental engineering at Stanford and earned a JD/MBA from Yale. She previously practiced at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in their downtown Los Angeles office, and has interned with the U.S. EPA and Surfrider Foundation.

Sara A. Clark, is a partner at Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP, a public interest private firm that represents non-profit and public agency clients on environmental, land use, and local government issues throughout California. Sara’s practice focuses on land conservation, cultural resource protection and other tribal law issues, the California Environmental Quality Act, and local land use initiatives and referenda. She has served on the firm’s hiring committee for seven years and regularly works with the SMW’s law clerks and fellows.

Lauren D. Layne chairs Baker, Manock & Jensen’s Reclamation & Water Law and Public Agency practice groups. Her law practice focuses on general water and environmental law, including CEQA and NEPA compliance, and includes various business transactional matters in the areas of flood control, water rights, water quality, public agency law, agribusiness, and real property. In addition to representing private clients, she serves as general counsel to various irrigation and water districts, flood control districts, and a number of Groundwater Sustainability Agencies. Ms. Layne has a B.S. in Soil Science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and in 2010, she graduated with distinction from McGeorge School of Law. Ms. Layne is the Vice Chair of the Association of California Water Agencies (“ACWA”) State Legislative Committee and serves on the ACWA Legal Affairs Committee. Additionally, Ms. Layne serves on the Board of Directors of the Cal Poly Alumni Association, the Cal Poly College of Agriculture Food and Environmental Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council, and on the McGeorge School of Law Alumni Association. Ms. Layne is also an advisor to the Agribusiness Committee of the Business Law Section.

Bret Stone is a founding partner of Paladin Law Group and has worked on environmental issues for over 20 years. His experience includes responding to environmental problems, risk management and regulatory compliance, cleantech and green businesses, green building, climate change, and sustainability. His client base is equally diverse: from emerging startups to multinational Fortune 500 companies, to municipalities and special districts. Mr. Stone’s work includes Brownfields redevelopment, real estate transfers, corporate mergers and acquisitions, and litigation. For a developer, he successfully negotiated immunity for environmental liability under the first agreement of its kind under the California Land Reuse and Revitalization Act (“CLRRA”) with the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Mr. Stone has worked on sites involving manufacturing, metal plating and anodizing, dry cleaning, printing, ship building, and oil exploration and production. He is recognized for his success in representing insurance policyholders and, through insurance archaeology, bringing historical insurance assets to the table to cover claims. His focus on sustainable development includes carbon, greenhouse gas emissions, cap-and-trade, water, renewable energy, social and human impacts, and the business acumen to make the project financially viable. Mr. Stone received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law with Honors, and a B.A. in Environmental Studies, with Honors, from U.C. Santa Barbara.

We are committed to accessibility! Virtual events are equipped with closed captioning. To request an in-person accommodation, send us a note at or contact us at 916-516-1760 for assistance.


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