James E. Butler, Jr.

Top rated products liability attorney in Atlanta, Georgia

Butler Prather LLP
James E. Butler, Jr.
Butler Prather LLP

Practice Areas: Products liability, Business litigation, General litigation; view more

Licensed in Georgia since: 1977

Education: University of Georgia School of Law

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2004 - 2023

Butler Prather LLP

12 Lenox Pointe NE
Atlanta, GA 30324 Visit website


James E. Butler, Jr., is the founding partner of the Butler Prather LLP law firm, which has law offices in Atlanta, Savannah and Columbus, Georgia. Widely regarded as among the top trial lawyers in the history of this country, Mr. Butler has more than 44 years of total legal experience.

Over the course of his legal career, Mr. Butler has handled a wide range of civil cases in some 32 states, from Montana to Florida, New York to Texas.  As lead counsel he has won six verdicts of more than $100 million, in addition to seven more verdicts over $10 million, nine more verdicts over $1 million, and 28 more verdicts over $100,000.  He has set the record for largest verdict in four states, including four times in Georgia - in four entirely different kinds of cases (medical malpractice, trucking, auto products liability, and business torts).  That is in addition to hundreds of settlements, including $170 million in one business case and settlements of $279 million and $349 million in class action cases where he served as lead counsel, plus settlements for over $170 million in a False Claims Act case for which he served as lead counsel.  Mr. Butler has also participated in dozens of appellate court cases, with substantial success, including as Amicus Curiae in a number of cases. 

Mr. Butler has also done defense work for years for two Fortune 500 corporations whose executives are personal friends of his.

Mr. Butler has also served as lead counsel in a number of pro bono cases, including one that has resulted in the payment of over $24 million to two charitable institutions and another which stopped, so far forever, the installation of a hazardous waste facility in a Georgia county.   He has also served as lead counsel in a series of class action cases which resulted in nearly $20 million in 'cy pres' funds being paid to a variety of educational and charitable institutions.  

Mr. Butler has been had an "AV Preeminent" peer-review rating* from Martindale-Hubbell from very early in his career (when first so rated he was apparently the youngest lawyer ever to achieve that rating).  He has also received the American Board of Trial Advocates Civil Justice Award in 1993 as well as the State Bar of Georgia Tradition of Excellence Award in 2002. 

A leader in his legal community, Mr. Butler has served as president of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, and as a member of the Georgia Board of Natural Resources, where he served as Chair of the Environmental Protection Committee.  Mr. Butler is a former member of the State Bar of Georgia's Disciplinary Board Review Panel.  He is a member of the American Association for Justice and the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, among many others. 

Mr. Butler obtained his Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Georgia in 1972 and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1977.  Mr. Butler attended that law school as a Woodruff Merit Scholar, having turned down a full scholarship from Harvard Law School.   

In law school at Georgia, Mr. Butler won the first year Talmadge Moot Court competition, the second year Russell Moot Court competition, the Southern Moot Court competition, and was a member of the National Moot Court ream.  Mr. Butler was also a member of the Georgia Law Review.

Prior to starting law school Mr. Butler was a homebuilder, having built 42 houses, was a paid political operative in a campaign for Governor of Georgia, and worked for several newspapers as a reporter, along with a host of other jobs starting at age 11.  

Mr. Butler has been active in litigating cases in the following areas of the law:

· Business torts

- Personal Injury 

· Class actions

· Product liability

· Auto defects

· Whistleblower and qui tam claims

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

Practice areas

Personal injury - products: plaintiff, Business litigation, General litigation, Personal injury - general: plaintiff

Focus areas

Motor vehicle defects, Litigation, Motor vehicle accidents, Personal injury - plaintiff, Slip and fall, Wrongful death, Trucking accidents

  • 40% Personal injury - products: plaintiff
  • 20% Business litigation
  • 20% General litigation
  • 20% Personal injury - general: plaintiff

First Admitted: 1977, Georgia

Professional Webpage: https://www.butlerwootenpeak.com/attorneys/james-e-butler-jr...

  • , Georgia Super Lawyers, 2004 – 2021
  • Recipient, American Board of Trial Advocates Civil Justice Award, 1993
  • Winner, Russell First Year Moot Court Competition
  • The Order of Barristers
  • Recipient, State Bar of Georgia Tradition of Excellence Award, 2002
  • Winner, Talmadge Second Year Moot Court Competition
  • Woodruff Merit Scholar
  • Best Oralist, Southern Moot Court Competition
  • Member, National Moot Court Team
Representative Clients:
  • AFLAC.  Synovus Financial Corp.
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Chairman, Georgia Board of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Committee, 2000
  • Member, State Bar of Georgia, Disciplinary Board Review Panel, 1993 - 1996
  • Trial Lawyers for Public Justice
  • Member, Board of Directors, State of Georgia, Department of Natural Resources/Environmental Protection Division, 1998 - 2005
  • Vice President, Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, 1983 - 1986
  • The American Association for Justice
  • Alabama, 1977
  • President, Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, 1988 - 1989
Educational Background:
  • University of Georgia, A.B. Journalism, 1972
Special Licenses/Certifications:
  • Certified Civil Trial Advocate, National Board of Trial Advocacy
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Jones v. State Farm: Effectuating Legislative Intention, Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, 1981
  • Properly representing consumers against corporations and their discovery tactics, The Boundaries of Zealous Advocacy, 31 Tort & Ins. L. J. 977, 1995
  • Jones v. State Farm, The Insured's Perspective, Georgia State Bar Journal, August, 1982, Perils and PItfalls of Scheduling Orders, the GTLA Verdict, Spring 2015 , 2015
  • Hospital Liability for Physician Negligence in Georgia: A Realistic Approach, 37 Mercer L. Rev. 701, 1986
  • What's A Human Life Really Worth: Recovering Damages For Decedents' Non-Economic Loss In Georgia Wrongful Death Actions (Co-Author), 7 Ga. St. L. Rev. 439, 1991
  • The Bench As A Battleground: The Discovery System is Broke and Only Judges Can Fix It, The Verdict, May/June, 1992
  • The Boundaries of Zealous Advocacy: Properly Representing Consumers Against Corporations and Their Tactics, 31 Tort & Insurance Law Journal 977, 1996
  • $150,000,000 Verdict--Walden v. Chrysler Group, LLC and Bryan L. Harrell, 2015

These comments were made by fellow attorneys during the annual nomination process.

“Jim is as good as it gets. No lawyer has a better track record of verdicts and results. He is the ultimate master of trial strategy and preparation.”

“Jim Butler's track record as a trial lawyer is unparalleled. It is an honor to get to work with and learn from him each day.”

“The best trial lawyer in Columbus and one of the top ones nationally.”

Office location for James E. Butler, Jr.

12 Lenox Pointe NE
Atlanta, GA 30324

Phone: 404-857-3994

Articles about James E. Butler, Jr. by Super Lawyers

The Squire of Muscogee County

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