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VADA Member Spotlight

Graham Butler
The Butler Law Firm

This month’s spotlighted VADA member is Graham Butler of The Butler Law Firm, P.C., in Staunton.  A combat veteran of the United States Army, Graham is a graduate of Rhodes College, Duke University, and Washington & Lee University School of Law.

1.         Where were you born?

Evanston, Illinois.  My family lived in the village of Glencoe on the north shore of Chicago for ten years.  I was there for the last five before we moved back to the Mid-South.  I grew up in Memphis and the Mississippi Delta region.

2.         Tell us a little about yourself.  Spouse? Children? Pets?

I live in Staunton with my wife of 20 years (Florentina) and our son Hardy (10 yrs).  Because of the military and graduate school, I did not get married until I was 36 and had Hardy when I was 46.  In fact, I was 40 when I started the practice of law.  We have a Bernese Mountain Dog/Poodle mix named Caldonia after Louis Jordan’s swing tune of the late 40’s.

3.         What type of law do you practice?

I am a trial lawyer specializing in Insurance Defense.  I have been moving more toward government contracts recently because of my military service.

4.         How long have you been a member of VADA?

I have been a member of VADA for 15 years.

5.         What have you enjoyed most about your time in VADA?

I always enjoyed the meetings and the collegiality.  VADA has incredible lawyers with a vast amount of experience.  Especially as a “young” attorney, I would just sit and listen.  They would always have time for my questions.

6.         What do you like most about practicing law?

The reason I enjoy practicing as a regional trial lawyer is that it allows me to meet so many other attorneys and judges.  My region of the Commonwealth is replete with historic courthouses and courtrooms.  I am always so grateful that I get to try cases in these places with so much history.

7.         What is the one app on your phone you cannot live without?

There are apps on the phone?  Seriously, I mainly use it for phone calls, emails, and texts.  I am not a technophile.

8.         Do you have a favorite movie or television quote?

There are so many since I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s.  I loved the Mel Brooks movies, The Godfather, Sixteen Candles, etc.  I also love the oldies like The Quiet Man.  There are so many quotes, but I treasure “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” (for bad writing and delivery), “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” and “Do or do not, there is no try.”

9.         What movie or TV show can you watch over and over again, no matter how many times you have seen it?

The Carol Burnette Show, The Godfather, and Sweet Home Alabama.

10.       What is at the top of your bucket list?

I guess London.  Paris.  I would like to see a game in Neyland in Knoxville.

11.       What was your undergraduate major?

Political Science.  I had done most of the work by Sophomore year, and I wanted to be able to take different classes.

12.       What was your first job?

Other than cutting grass, I loaded meat trucks in a rough part of town in Memphis.  I was sixteen and they paid $5.00 an hour.

13.       When I am not at the office, I like to …

I like college sports.  Duke fan obviously—don’t hold it against me.  I love SEC football.

14.       If I wasn’t practicing law, I would be …

A Religious Studies professor.

15.       If you were to visit my office, one of the first things you would notice would be

You would see the usual.  I do have a Gurkha knife a Gurkha gave me.

16.       What is your favorite travel spot?

I loved Greece and Rome.  It has all the classics.

17        What was the make and model of your first car?

It was an old Honda Civic four-speed stick from the late 70’s, early 80’s.  It had a box-type body and would sound like it was red-lining at 65 mph.

18.       What book is currently on your bedside table?

Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari.  My favorite book is Instant Replay by Jerry Kramer.  It made me into a huge 1960’s Lombardi/Packers fan.

19.       Who is the most famous or interesting person you have ever met?

Probably my professors at Duke.  You could just sit down and have a beer.  Brilliant.

20.       What advice would you give to someone who just passed the bar?

I would tell them that we are the only profession that puts a noose around our neck and sells the one thing we cannot get back.  Seriously, I would say it is what you want.  It is just the amount of time.

Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys

11533 Busy Street, #327

N. Chesterfield, VA 23236


Executive Director: Sherma Mather

Director of Meetings: Amy Gilbody

Journal of Civil Litigation Managing Editor: Molly Terry

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