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William P. Butterfield Award

The William P. Butterfield Award for Excellence in eDiscovery Writing

The William P. Butterfield Award for Excellence in eDiscovery Writing will be presented annually to recognize and incentivize innovative legal thinking, independent research, and technical solutions that advance the field of eDiscovery and promote cooperation, collaboration, and efficiency in eDiscovery. 

The winner of the competition will be recognized in a news release announcing the Award, receive a $10,000 cash award from Hausfeld, and, at the option of the winner and The Sedona Conference©, have his or her winning paper published in The Sedona Conference Journal

The eponymous award honors the memory of the late William P. Butterfield, a founding member of Hausfeld, former chair The Sedona Conference’s Working Group 1 Steering Committee on electronic discovery, and an eDiscovery thought leader. 

Hausfeld and The Sedona Conference created the William P. Butterfield Award for Excellence in eDiscovery Writing to ensure Bill's legacy lives on and his contributions to legal practice are recognized for generations to come. The Award is designed to recognize and incentivize innovative legal thinking and technical solutions that advance the principles Bill so strongly embraced.


The competition is open to scholars, legal practitioners and law students, technologists and others working in the field of eDiscovery. 

Paper Topics

Award submissions can be papers involving innovative technical or legal solutions or proposals, original quantitative or qualitative research relating to eDiscovery, or other similar topics that advance the field of eDiscovery or promote cooperation. The sizable cash award is intended to incentivize independent quantitative or qualitative research in eDiscovery, but eligibility is not limited to papers founded on empircal research.

Papers may be of a theoretical, legal, or technical nature. Papers should not be advocacy pieces expressing or promoting policy or litigation outcome preferences, nor should they serve as a promotional tool for commercially available products. Instead, papers should focus on research and solutions that promote a balanced, truth seeking approach to discovery, to which Bill was dedicated. 

Technical pieces (for example, advancing innovative technologies for eDiscovery) should be written in plain language, with an eye toward nontechnical practitioner and judicial audiences. 

Papers submitted may not have been previously accepted for publication by another journal if the author seeks publication in The Sedona Conference Journal as part of the Award. Entrants submitting previously published papers shall so note with their submission.


2019 Deadline Award: Submissions for the 2019 William P. Butterfield Excellence in eDiscovery Writing Award are still being accepted. Materials must be received no later than June 1, 2019 to be considered for this year’s award.

It is anticipated that the 2019 award winner will also be announced at the annual meeting of Working Group 1 in the fall of 2019.

Paper Format

Papers should be submitted in electronic format (PDF preferred), double spaced, with one-inch margins. Citation format should follow the citation style of The Blue Book: A Uniform System of Citation, using the citation format applicable to law journals. 

Paper Submission

Papers and completed submission forms should be sent as attachments via email to on or before the deadlines identified above.

Selection Process

Submitted papers will be judged by a balanced panel composed of academics and practitioners in the field of eDiscovery, including representatives of Hausfeld and The Sedona Conference. Papers will be judged on their originality and informational value, as well as the quality of the author’s research, writing, and analysis. 

Hausfeld and The Sedona Conference reserve the right not to issue an award if, in the sole opinion of the judges, the papers submitted do not meet their standards for the Award.

Award Benefits

  • Recognition in a news release announcing the recipient of each annual Award, distributed to national legal outlets;
  • A $10,000 cash award from Hausfeld; and
  • At the option of the winner and The Sedona Conference, have his or her winning paper published in the next volume of The Sedona Conference Journal. The Second Conference reserves the right to edit papers that are selected for publication. 


Download Submission Form

William P. Butterfield was an outstanding and accomplished lawyer, who served as an advocate, teacher, and scholar. Bill's passion for problem solving in large cases and creating out-of-the-box solutions led to his pioneering work as a thought-leader and practitioner in the field of eDiscovery. Bill was a founding partner of Hausfeld, a leading global claimants’ firm, and a long-time devoted member and past Chair of The Sedona Conference Working Group 1 Steering Committee. Though a prolific writer, he is best known (and most cited) as the Editor-in-Chief of The Sedona Conference's manifesto, The Case for Cooperation, 10 Sedona Conf. J. 339 (2009 Supp.). 

Bill worked tirelessly to advance sensible and innovative eDiscovery solutions that fostered the truth-seeking goals of discovery. He had an unwavering commitment to cooperation as the key to preventing disruptive discovery disputes, reducing costs, fostering professionalism and collegiality, and, foremost, uncovering the truth. In this digital age, he was always looking for the next solution—whether procedural, legal or technical—to advance the field of eDiscovery and the practice of law. 

Nationally recognized for his eDiscovery expertise, Bill testified before the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, regarding the appropriate balancing of the benefits and burdens of civil discovery. He was an adjunct professor at American University, Washington College of Law, where he taught a course on electronic discovery. Bill also served on the Advisory Board for the Georgetown University Law Center Advanced E-Discovery Institute.

Bill, who began his legal career as a prosecutor, was a partner in Hausfeld. Bill chaired the firm’s Financial Services Practice Group, and concentrated on financial services and antitrust litigation. 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. 

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 Lawyersas a top Antitrust lawyer in Washington, D.C. He was also recognized for his eDiscovery expertise by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for BusinessChambers Global, and Global Competition Review's - Who's Who Legal.

For more information and updates about the Willam P. Butterfield Award, go to:


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