When people in St. Louis go to the New Life Evangelistic Center for help with utility bills or to get a roof over their heads on a cold winter night, Todd Lubben’s efforts have helped make that possible.
Lubben, an attorney with Brown & James, was unfamiliar with the center when his law firm asked him to represent it in a legal battle with nearby business owners who want to see the shelter shut down. Lubben has prevailed on several major legal disputes that have allowed New Life to stay open.
“As a lawyer when I started representing them I knew nothing about them and just looked at it as a job,” Lubben said. “But I’ve gotten to know them so well over time I’m proud to represent them. If they were to go away it would be a horrible situation for the homeless population and St. Louis in general.”
Lubben is a central Illinois native who earned his law degree in 2002 from Saint Louis University. He decided to stay in the city, and his work has work has allowed him to impact the city in a major way. Lubben has focused on professional liability, business litigation and insurance law. He also volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts and Haven House St. Louis.
His conscientiousness has captured the attention of others at Brown & James.
“Todd has worked tirelessly for that last several years to keep the New Life homeless shelter open, despite multiple attempts by local business owners to shut it down,” Steven Schwartz, a principal at the firm, wrote in nominating Lubben. “The homeless people that New Life serves have no other place to go and they would be sleeping under bridges and in parks if it weren’t for Todd Lubben.”
“I hate to see all the major stakeholders fighting about whether the shelter should be open or closed,” Lubben said. “I wish everyone could come together and find solutions to homelessness instead of fighting about whether the shelter should exist.”
In the past year, Lubben said he is also proud of a case in which he represented a prison inmate who sued guards and prison administrators after he claimed he was assaulted by the guards and placed into solitary confinement for an unreasonable amount of time.
The inmate did not prevail in the suit, but Lubben said the action sent a message to prison administration.
“I think for any prison employee to know that there are lawyers available who will represent a prisoner when they’re mistreated, it helps the system in general,” Lubben said. “If there’s no one to stand up for these prisoners, then that opens the door for more mistreatment.”