William P. Butterfield

Washington, DC

Hausfeld lost a dear friend and trusted colleague when partner William P. Butterfield passed away on Tuesday, December 13, 2016. Bill was an outstanding and accomplished lawyer, whether as an advocate, teacher, or scholar. He was a true gentleman and deeply respected by all who knew him. He will be sorely missed by the entire Hausfeld family, and we are grateful for the invaluable contributions that he made to the firm. For any client-related inquiries, please contact Brian Ratner at 202-540-7155 or bratner@hausfeld.com. We invite those who knew Bill to share their remembrances with us at memories@hausfeld.com.

Bill Butterfield’s initial career as a prosecutor led to his interest in finding information that would help his clients prove their cases. His passion for problem-solving in large cases (finding the important information within millions of electronic records) and creating out-of-the-box solutions, led to his pioneering work in the field of electronic discovery. These skills made Bill uniquely suited to provide unparalleled services to clients, always with the goal of providing sensible solutions to his clients’ needs.

As partner at Hausfeld, Bill chaired the firm’s Financial Services Practice Group, and concentrated on financial services and antitrust litigation. He was also an internationally recognized authority on electronic discovery. In over 30 years of legal practice, Bill represented governmental agencies, brokerage firms, corporations, directors and officers, attorneys and investors in private litigation over securities, commodities, antitrust and consumer claims, and in investigations commenced by the Securities and Exchange Commission. He also defended clients in bankruptcy adversary proceedings and commercial litigation. Additionally, Bill served as a leader in several legal think tanks, taught law, and wrote and spoke frequently on legal topics. Bill had a rating of AV®, the highest rating available in Martindale-Hubbell’s peer review rating system. In 2016, he was named by Super Lawyers as a top Antitrust lawyer in Washington, D.C. He was also recognized for his e-discovery expertise by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Chambers Global, and Global Competition Review's - Who's Who Legal.

Bill was counsel for the plaintiffs in In re Air Cargo Shipping Services Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1775 (E.D.N.Y.), which has resulted in over $1.2 billion in settlements. He was appointed by the Court to serve as lead counsel for the class in MTB Investment Partners, LP v. Siemens, No. 2:12-cv-00340 (D.NJ). He served as discovery co-chair for the class in In re Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 2406, (S.D. AL). Bill was also one of the principal attorneys for plaintiffs in two of the largest cases being litigated in U.S. courts: In re LIBOR-Based Financial Instruments Antitrust Litigation, No. 11-md-2262, (S.D.N.Y.), and In re Foreign Exchange Benchmark Rates Antitrust Litigation, No. 13-cv-7789 (S.D.N.Y.).

Bill’s achievements included:

  • Achieving settlements of over $120 million in a lawsuit alleging output restrictions in the wood products industry (In Re OSB Antitrust Litigation, (E.D. Pa.));
  • Achieving settlements of almost $100 million in an antitrust price-fixing case involving the chemical industry (In Re Hydrogen Peroxide Antitrust Litigation, (E.D. Pa.));
  • Acting as one of the principal attorneys involved in nationwide litigation challenging lending practices conducted by one of the nation’s largest sub-prime lenders. In that case, Bill worked extensively with the FTC, and was responsible for bringing nationwide media and Congressional attention to lending practices conducted by Associates Finance. The plaintiffs and FTC eventually settled with Citigroup (which had acquired Associates Finance) for $240 million (In Re Citigroup Loan Cases, J.C.C.P. 4197);
  • Acting as one of the principal Plaintiffs’ attorneys in In re Prudential Securities Limited Partnerships Litigation, MDL No. 1005 (S.D.N.Y.), which settled for $137 million;
  • Acting as one of the principal Plaintiffs’ attorneys in In re PaineWebber Securities Litigation, 94 Civ. 8547 (S.D.N.Y.), which settled for $200 million;
  • Serving as outside counsel in the RTC’s successful defense of a $300 million arbitration dispute regarding the valuation of an acquired financial institutions investment and mortgage portfolio;
  • Serving as outside counsel for the FDIC and RTC in numerous lawsuits and investigations to recover losses suffered by financial institutions due to securities, commodities and real estate fraud, director and officer misconduct and accounting malpractice;
  • As outside counsel, representing political subdivisions in Texas, Ohio and California regarding securities matters.

Bill developed his interest in electronic discovery in the early 1990’s when he helped design and implement an electronic document repository to manage more than 15 million pages of documents in a complex securities case. He testified as an expert witness on e-discovery issues, and spoke frequently on that topic domestically and abroad. Bill was the chair of The Sedona Conference® Working Group on Electronic Document Retention and Production, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Case for Cooperation (2009), and was a co-editor of The Sedona Conference® Commentary On Preservation, Identification and Management of Sources of Information that are Not Reasonably Accessible (2008). He was also a member of Sedona Conference® Working Group on International Electronic Information Management, Discovery and Disclosure. Bill was an adjunct professor at American University, Washington College of Law, where he taught a course in e-discovery. He also served on advisory boards for Georgetown University Law Center’s Advanced E-Discovery Institute, and Bloomberg BNA Litigation. 

Bill devoted significant time to his community. He was a longtime contributor to his alma mater, Bowling Green State University. He also served as Treasurer to the BGSU Foundation, Inc., as well as on the BGSU Alumni Board, and as president of local alumni chapters in Dayton, Ohio and Washington, DC. As recognition for his philanthropy and service to the university, Bill received the BGSU Alumni Service Award in 2001. Additionally, Bill – a former Eagle Scout – served as a leader for scouting organizations. Bill also served for several years as the vice chair of the Fairfax Private Industry Council.

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