James E. Butler Jr.

Office Location

Columbus, Georgia

Education

University of Georgia School of Law, Athens, Georgia
  • J.D. - 1977
  • Honors: Best Oralist, Southern Moot Court Competition
  • Honors: Winner, Russell First Year Moot Court Competition
  • Honors: Winner, Talmadge Second Year Moot Court Competition
  • Honors: Member, National Moot Court Team
  • Honors: The Order of Barristers
  • Honors: Woodruff Merit Scholar
  • Law Review: Georgia Law Review, Member

University of Georgia
  • A.B. - 1972
  • Major: Journalism

Areas of Practice

  • Personal Injury
  • Business Torts
  • Class Actions
  • Product Liability
  • Auto Defects
  • Whistleblower/Qui Tam

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Certified Civil Trial Advocate, National Board of Trial Advocacy

Bar Admissions

  • Georgia, 1977
  • Alabama, 1977

James E. Butler Jr.

Phone:
404-321-1700
Fax:
706-323-2962
Email

JAMES E. BUTLER is a founding partner of Butler Wooten Cheeley & Peak LLP, a nationally known civil trial practice firm which has litigated cases in 28 states – from Massachusetts to California, Montana to Florida. Jim's accomplishments include setting the record for largest verdict in Georgia history on four separate occasions – in four completely different kinds of civil cases (medical malpractice, trucking, auto products liability, and business torts/breach of fiduciary duty). No other lawyer has done that more than once. Cases in which Jim served as lead counsel have also set verdict records and settlement records in a number of other states. Jim was lead counsel in the Six Flags vs. Time Warner case, which is believed to be the largest collected judgment in American history.

Jim has tried over 170 civil cases to verdict, and has won four verdicts over $100 million, plus another ten verdicts over $10 million, plus another 10 verdicts over $1 million, plus innumerable verdicts over $100,000. Jim has served as lead counsel in business cases, products cases, trucking cases, premises liability cases, and in a series of class action cases which pioneered new approaches and settlement models. In addition, Jim has served as lead counsel in far more cases which resulted in eight-figure and seven-figure settlements, including the largest settlements ever paid by two multinational automakers. Jim has also been counsel in nearly countless appellate decisions of note.

Jim graduated from the University of Georgia School of Journalism, after having begun writing for newspapers when he was 15. Jim graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law cum laude, which he attended on full scholarship, where he was one of that school's most successful moot court advocates and was a member of the Law Review. Jim began his law practice in Columbus Georgia, but soon thereafter opened an office in Atlanta, where for decades his and the firm's practice has largely been concentrated. Jim's first trial success came in business tort cases, nuisance cases, and insurance law cases.

Jim has long been active in politics and with conservation groups. He served on the Georgia Board of Natural Resources, was a founder of Flint Riverkeeper, Inc., of the Chattahoochee RiverWarden and the Chattahoochee Valley Land Trust, and has served on the boards of many similar groups. He has also been active in a variety of charitable and philanthropic organizations, was a founding member of the Board of the Arch Foundation for the University of Georgia, and is now a member of the University of Georgia Foundation. He has received a variety of professional honors, including the State Bar of Georgia General Practice & Trial Section "Tradition of Excellence Award," the University of Georgia Law School's "Distinguished Scroll Award", and the American Board of Trial Advocates Civil Justice Award. He is currently a Master of the Bench, Columbus Inns of Court. Jim has long been recognized as a leader among trial lawyers in Georgia, and served as President of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, and as a founding Director of the Georgia Civil Justice Foundation. He has served his profession in a variety of capacities, including serving on the State Bar Disciplinary Board. Jim has been recognized as a "Super Lawyer" for many years, and was one of the youngest lawyers ever to receive Martindale-Hubbell's "AV" rating.

Published Works

  • Hospital Liability for Physician Negligence in Georgia: A Realistic Approach, 37 Mercer L. Rev. 701, 1986
  • Jones v. State Farm: Effectuating Legislative Intention, Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, 1981
  • Jones v. State Farm, The Insured's Perspective, Georgia State Bar Journal, August, 1982
  • 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

Honors and Awards

  • Recipient, American Board of Trial Advocates Civil Justice Award, 1993
  • Recipient, State Bar of Georgia Tradition of Excellence Award, 2002
  • Georgia Super Lawyers, 2004 - 2014

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • State of Georgia, Department of Natural Resources/Environmental Protection Division, Member, Board of Directors, 1998 - 2005
  • Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, Chairman, Environmental Protection Committee, 2000
  • Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, President, 1988 - 1989
  • Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, Vice President, 1983 - 1986
  • Columbus Trial Lawyers Association, Member, Amicus Curiae Committee, 1981 - 1983
  • Columbus Trial Lawyers Association, Chairman, Special Jones Committee, 1982 - 1983
  • Columbus Trial Lawyers Association, President, 1986
  • State Bar of Georgia, Member, Disciplinary Board Review Panel, 1993 - 1996
  • Alabama Trial Lawyers Association
  • The American Association for Justice
  • Trial Lawyers for Public Justice