Meet the Barrister – Eric Butler
A periodic Q & A session with a Lewis Thomason (LT) lawyer
Lewis Thomason: When did you decide to become a lawyer?
Eric Butler: My original career choice was law enforcement. I worked as a police officer for 7 years before going to law school. I worked the night shift and attended classes full time during the day at MTSU. I decided to go to law school because I wanted to be an FBI agent, but I lost interest in joining the FBI my second year in law school.
Lewis Thomason: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Eric Butler: In June 2016, I tried a lawsuit in the United States Tax Court with my mentor and former law partner, Dale Allen. Dale and I worked on this particular case for over 8 years at my former law firm, and it was a great experience to be able to see it through to the end after a week-long trial in Tax Court.
Lewis Thomason: What is one thing on your bucket list and why?
Eric Butler: When I was a kid I wanted to fly fighter jets. One day I am going to fly in a fighter jet to the edge of space.
Lewis Thomason: What motivates you?
Eric Butler: Rod Fields! No seriously, without a doubt my staff. Ashley Towe, Sarah Poe, and Kelsi Foust show up every day (and some weekends) and give 110% to serving our clients and making sure we get the mission done. When I see how hard they work for me and our clients I am motivated to do it better today than I did it yesterday.
Lewis Thomason: When I was in high school, my friends would describe me as __________.
Eric Butler: Tenacious. Whether it was sports, academics, or goofing off, I went all out. One of my teachers once told my parents at a parent-teacher conference I was the smartest dumb kid she had ever met. My mother still cannot believe I am a tax lawyer.
Lewis Thomason: Describe your most memorable moment in a deposition or trial.
Eric Butler: Referring back to my answer to question 2, Dale Allen subpoenaed a former employee of the tax shelter at issue in our case to testify at the trial. (Dale found the guy in Miami, Florida about 20 days before the trial). Dale flew the guy in to have dinner with us so we could meet him for the first time and go over his testimony for the next day. Dale walked the guy into the hotel lobby fresh off of the plane wearing daisy dukes for men, a tank top, and beach sandals. It just went downhill from there. (I kept the witness’s expense report for his 24 hours in Nashville as a souvenir, which included a chiropractic adjustment on his way back to the airport the next day because the chair in the courtroom hurt his back)
Lewis Thomason: What is your favorite family vacation?
Eric Butler: Every year my wife, Mary, and I take a summer vacation to Siesta Key, Florida. We rent a house for a week right on the beach and have a great time. While not a family vacation, I also try to get down to Cozumel, Mexico every year for some scuba diving.
Lewis Thomason: If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?
Eric Butler: Be invisible and see what people really do when no one is watching. Mark Castleberry would be my first subject of interest.
Lewis Thomason: What is your favorite game or sport to watch and play?
Eric Butler: Football. Roll Tide!!
Lewis Thomason: What is the one thing that should be taught in school that isn’t already?
Eric Butler: Civics!!! Followed closely by economics.
Eric Butler, a native of Franklin County, Tennessee, is a shareholder in the firm’s Knoxville office focusing his legal practice in the areas of federal and state taxation, tax controversy matters, white-collar criminal defense, and estate planning/probate matters. Mr. Butler handles a large range of tax matters for clients across Tennessee as well as the south-eastern United States involving the Internal Revenue Service and state taxing authorities, to include examinations of returns, collection of delinquent tax debts, criminal tax matters, international tax compliance and enforcement, and litigation of tax issues in both state and federal courts.