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Largest Trucking
Verdict In U.S. History

At Butler Prather LLP, our Georgia trucking accident attorneys hold trucking companies accountable when their carelessness results in catastrophic and fatal collisions.

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James E. Butler Jr.

founding partner

James E. Butler, Jr. is a founding partner of Butler Prather LLP, a nationally known civil trial practice firm which has litigated cases in 30 states – from Massachusetts to California, Montana to Florida. Jim has been lead counsel in nine cases where the verdict exceeded $100 million. He has won record-setting verdicts in several states. He has set 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. Jim was lead counsel in the Six Flags vs. Time Warner case, a business tort case, which is believed to be the largest collected judgment in American history ($454 million). In addition to the nine verdicts over $100 million, Jim has been lead counsel in cases with verdicts of $90 million, $37 million, $30 million, $25 million, $17.7 million, $15.5 million, $13 million, $8 million. $4.7 million, $4.2 million, plus another six verdicts in excess of $1 million. In addition to verdicts, Jim has served as lead counsel in False Claims Act cases, class action cases, and fraud cases each of which resulted in settlements over $170 million.

Jim began writing for newspapers at age 15 and graduated from the University of Georgia School of Journalism. He won a full scholarship to law school at the University of Georgia School of Law, graduating cum laude. In law school he won both the first year and second year moot court competitions and was a member of the National Moot Court team. He was also elected to the Law Review. Jim began his law practice in Columbus Georgia, but soon thereafter opened an office in Atlanta.

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 subsequently served as a member of the Board 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, the leading national rating agency, “AV Preeminent—5.0 out of 5.0” 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 – 2024

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

founding partner


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

certified legal specialties

  • Certified Civil Trial Advocate, National Board of Trial Advocacy

bar admissions

  • Georgia, 1977
  • Alabama, 1977