Luebberke served as Stockton’s City Attorney for over twelve years until he retired in March of 2022. During his time as City Attorney, he helped guide the City of Stockton through numerous challenges, including the Great Recession and what was at the time the largest municipal bankruptcy in United States history.
Managing partner Steve Herum explained, “John brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our firm and will be a valuable asset in finding practical solutions to the legal issues our clients face.”
John M. Luebberke grew up the Los Angeles area and graduated with honors from Western State University College of Law in December of 1992.
John M. Luebberke has devoted the majority of his practice to representing cities and other public agencies concerning challenging litigation and transactional matters. Most recently, Mr. Luebberke served as City Attorney for the City of Stockton for twelve years, before retiring in 2022 to return to private practice.
Over nearly thirty years representing public agencies, public employees and elected leaders Mr. Luebberke has cultivated many strong and enduring relationships with clients and has developed a wide range of expertise that includes land use and development law, environmental law, water law and all aspects of the law governing the operation of public agencies and public utilities.
In the course of representing the City of Stockton as its City Attorney, John became a recognized expert in the Brown Act, Public Records Act, the Fair Political Practices Act, local election law, Proposition 218 and public utility rate setting. Mr. Luebberke also has more than twenty years of experience representing cities and (former) Redevelopment Agencies in real estate transactions, as well as Brownfield and environmental restoration and remediation efforts under the Polanco Act and AB 440.
The Great Recession presented John with a unique set of challenges few lawyers have the opportunity to encounter. These challenges included the legal processes of staff reduction (lay-offs), “effects” employee bargaining, employee benefits retraction, municipal bankruptcy and coordinating the City’s strategy and efforts of a multiplicity of law firms and fiscal consultants. This experience also involved drafting numerous important city charter amendments and guiding the City of Stockton as it established new tax revenue sources post-bankruptcy through local tax initiatives and a return to capital markets to finance essential new public facilities. Today Stockton is one of the most fiscally sound cities in America.
John has been instrumental in assisting clients through numerous diverse and important policy and legal issues over his nearly 30 years in public practice. Examples include negotiating and implementing the return of City of Stockton’s water, sewer and storm drain utilities after a failed privatization agreement with OMI/Thames; representing the City of Stockton in city council redistricting during both the 2010 and 2020 cycles; drafting various amendments to the City of Stockton Charter that restored compliance with voting rights laws and the drafting and implementation of the first medical cannabis ordinance in San Joaquin County.
On behalf of his public agency and public employee clients Mr. Luebberke has been instrumental in resolving numerous and very serious litigation cases involving a wide range of legal issues. These have included matters in complex eminent domain disputes, civil rights law (ADA, free speech and section 1983), wrongful death, employment, public utility and public finance related matters in both state and federal court.
This perspective and experience can be valuable to private or public entities dealing with these types of sophisticated legal matters involving the delicate intersection of public and private interests.
In addition to many hours spent providing in-person educational content to client city councils, public employees, boards and commissions Mr. Luebberke has also designed training curriculum on land use and development law, Brownfield redevelopment, the Brown Act, Public Records Act and mandatory conflict of interest and ethics training.
In his spare time Mr. Luebberke likes to garden, fish and play golf. As an amateur oenophile, Mr. Luebberke can often be found touring the California wine country and cooking for family and friends.