VOL. 122 | NO. 242 | Thursday, December 20, 2007
Memphis Law Talk
Butler Honored for Legal Service With Sam A. Myar Jr. Award
Name: Lara E. Butler
Firm: Thomason Hendrix Harvey Johnson & Mitchell PLLC
Basics: Butler earned the Sam A. Myar Jr. Memorial Award at this month's annual meeting of the Memphis Bar Association.
"The legal profession is a very noble profession and we've gotten a bad rap over the past several years. ... The public at large ought to realize more what lawyers do for the community, especially the Memphis bar."
- Lara E. Butler
Her mother is an assistant district attorney. Her father is a chancellor.
But the law wasn't an automatic career choice for Lara E. Butler.
The daughter of Linda Butler, an assistant district attorney for the judicial district that includes Jackson, Tenn., and Madison County Chancellor Jimmy Butler was prepared to follow what she called a tradition among Rhodes College graduates of "going to Colorado to find myself" after graduation.
But her father thought Lara needed her first job instead, saying it was because she was lazy.
Butler, who is a partner at Thomason Hendrix Harvey Johnson & Mitchell PLLC, earned the Sam A. Myar Jr. Memorial Award at this month's annual meeting of the Memphis Bar Association. Her proud parents were in the audience at The Peabody Hotel. The award goes to a young attorney who has provided outstanding legal service to the profession and the community.
Q: What is your practice area?
A: Domestic relations and medical malpractice defense. Odd combination, I realize.
Q: Are there any other practice areas you have been curious about?
A: This pretty much keeps me busy. Domestic relations is pretty challenging as far as the emotional aspect of it. The medical malpractice area is challenging as far as the medical terminology and things of that nature. Those two areas are what I have fallen into.
Q: Where did you attend undergraduate and law school?
A: Rhodes College and the University of Memphis Law School, except it was Memphis State University at that time. I was in the last class to receive a Memphis State University diploma (in 1993).
Q: What do you feel people who don't practice law should know about the legal system?
A: The legal profession is a very noble profession and we've gotten a bad rap over the past several years with all of the lawyer jokes, etc. Really all of the lawyers I know are very honest and ethical and professional people. The public at large ought to realize more what lawyers do for the community, especially the Memphis bar.
We strive to provide a great deal of pro bono services to our community. I don't know any lawyer who doesn't do that kind of work. Yet we are constantly (upbraided) for wanting to make a dollar and that kind of thing. That's not the kind of lawyer that I know.
Most of the attorneys that I know who do pro bono are not court appointed. It's completely voluntary. Tennessee is not a mandatory pro bono state. Baker, Donelson, (Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC) gives their associates bonus points for doing pro bono. My firm doesn't do that, but it encourages every single one of our associates or young attorneys to give back to the community in that way. That is a special service that we can provide to the community. Most lawyers I know do pro bono work. I think that we get a bad rap.
Q: Do you have an enduring law school memory?
A: My one enduring law school memory was sitting for the bar exam. It's not a pleasant memory.
Q: What about an enduring courtroom memory?
A: I go to court so much and I come back at least once a month stunned about something. There's no one enduring courtroom memory.
Q: Who is the person you would most like to depose or get on the witness stand?
A: Britney Spears. I just want to know why somebody with her talent has completely messed up her life and taken actions that have caused her to lose custody of her children. I want to know why she has failed with all of the good fortune that she has seen. It is baffling to me how she has failed in so many ways.
Q: What is the best advice another lawyer or judge has passed along?
A: My dad said you can get more flies with honey. In other words, be professional and be nice to your colleagues because one day you're going to need for them to be professional to you.
Q: What would you say has been your biggest challenge?
A: Balancing my work and social and family life.
Q: What do you do in your free time?
A: Nothing very important. I just really like to hang out with my friends in my free time.
We like to travel a lot and I like to be with my colleagues and friends.