Dr. Joseph Butler is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University and The John Marshall Law School. He began his legal career as a professor at The John Marshall Law School in 1995, retiring from full-time employment at the law school in 2012. His most recent academic position was Co-Executive Director and Director of the Veterans Legal Support Center & Clinic. Prior to his work at the Veterans Clinic, Professor Butler was Assistant Director at The John Marshall Law School Fair Housing Legal Clinic.
The accomplishment Professor Butler is most proud of is the Veterans Clinic. His interest in the legal issues facing veterans was sparked when he learned that a first-year student, who had recently returned from serving in Iraq, had received no educational benefits for his service. As a result, Professor Butler established a scholarship at the law school for students who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At the same time, a group of law students were working toward establishing a veterans clinic at the law school. The initial focus of the Clinic was assisting veterans who were seeking to obtain the benefits to which they are entitled. Professor Butler has also been instrumental in establishing and maintaining a network of pro-bono attorneys who handle veterans benefit cases free of charge. Under his direction, the Clinic began working with courts to establish programs for justice involved veterans. Professor Butler worked directly with veterans treatment courts in Cook County, The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and Santa Barbara, California (after retirement).
Professor Butler has also consulted on veterans courts across the country. He convened a national roundtable discussion on veterans courts and domestic violence. The Clinic also began working on filing amicus briefs in appellate cases where a veteran related issue was presented. Professor Butler has assisted in drafting numerous amicus briefs filed in the United States Supreme Court, and various United States appellate courts. Along with Brian Clauss, he served as General Editor and Chapter author for Military Service and the Law, a publication of the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education. He has also authored a chapter in the Illinois Handbook for People with Mental Disabilities.
Professor Butler has lectured nationally on veterans and fair housing issues, including the International Association of Human Rights Agencies, and The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s National Fair Housing Policy Training Conferences. He has taught courses on Veterans Benefits, Administrative law, Legal Writing and Fair Housing. Professor Butler currently lives in Charleston, SC with his wife and three children.