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St. Louis Bar Foundation honors Paul Brown for program targeting ‘problem properties’

November 1, 2013

Paul Brown
Thompson Coburn partner Paul Brown at an October 2012 press conference announcing the Lawyers for City Neighborhoods program. The initiative sprung from Brown's work with the St. Louis City Counselor's Office targeting nuisance properties in St. Louis neighborhoods
Patti Hageman
City Counselor Patti Hageman speaks with reporters at the press conference announcing Lawyers for City Neighborhoods, as St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay looks on.

Paul Brown and St. Louis City Counselor Patti Hageman were co-recipients of a 2013 Spirit of Justice Award from the St. Louis Bar Foundation for their creation of a new program targeting abandoned properties in the City of St. Louis.

Brown and Hageman accepted the award at the Oct. 25 event, held at the Chase Park Plaza. They received the honor for “leadership in fostering and promoting the improvement and administration of justice.”

Their program, Lawyers for City Neighborhoods, is a committee of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis that connects private practice attorneys with the City Counselor’s Office and neighborhood organizations to assist in problem properties and nuisance behavior litigation. 

Lawyers for City Neighborhoods was organized late last year and to date has conducted three CLE training sessions for about 60 lawyers and collaborated with the City Counselor’s office on fifteen litigation matters. Lawyers for City Neighborhoods has also begun drafting legislation to revise a city ordinance and a state statute to help empower neighborhood organizations in combating problem properties and nuisance behaviors. 

“[Brown] stepped forward, despite the heavy workload that befits a partner at a large law firm like Thompson Coburn, to lead this group that recruits and trains BAMSL lawyers to provide pro bono legal work to help reduce the overloaded docket of problem properties,” the Bar Foundation wrote in its program. “While reducing a growing docket that has challenged the City Counselor’s Office staff for years appears to be only a civic assist, Brown recognized the humanitarian implications immediately.”

“Brown’s enthusiastic efforts to recruit volunteers while heading up this important committee has had a noticeable impact — both on many city neighborhoods, for City residents, and not coincidentally, for the many BAMSL volunteer lawyers who have found satisfaction in helping maintain a stronger community.”

Thompson Coburn lawyers Cheryl Kelly, Trey Lawrence, and Joyce Pratt have been active in Lawyers for City Neighborhoods since its inception and have already helped the City Counselor’s office resolve two cases that had stalled in municipal court before their involvement in the litigation.