Robert J. Butler

Robert J. Butler


  • Michigan State University, B.A., with high honor
  • Harvard Law School, J.D., magna cum laude

Bar and Court Admissions

  • District of Columbia Bar
  • Virginia Bar
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals

Mr. Butler has more than thirty years experience counseling technology companies and other clients in connection with e-commerce business transactions, federal, state and international telecommunication regulation, and liability issues associated with doing business online. He has represented multi-national enterprise clients, premier dot com companies, and financial and other firms in complex telecommunications, data center, and Internet service transactions, as well as FCC and state regulatory matters.

Fun Fact

Mr. Butler focuses his practice on e-commerce business transactions, primarily enterprise agreements for fiber networks, telecommunications and Internet services, VPNs, and data center operations on behalf of major online companies and other sophisticated multi-national corporations with large scale transmission and data processing requirements. Over the past several decades, he has closed transactions totaling hundreds of millions of dollars in such commitments, including for some of the marquee names in the online world. He also advises such entities on federal, state, and international regulatory issues, website and other online disclosure and liability issues, privacy issues, and creditor issues in bankruptcy and related proceedings.

Mr. Butler was formerly a partner at Wiley Rein and its predecessor firms, where he spent almost three decades immersed in all aspects of telecommunications regulation. As Washington counsel for Prodigy Services Company, he was instrumental in crafting the “good Samaritan” provisions in Section 230 of the Communications Act, which provide protections for online service providers and other companies for materials posted or transmitted on their computer networks by others, and was a founding member of the Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee. He also represented the information service industry and a large corporate telecommunications users group in the FCC’s MTS/WATS Market Structure, Access Charge, and Computer Inquiry proceedings and on Capitol Hill, working to secure reasonable charges for carrier-provided services, promote competition in telecommunications, and maintain the unregulated status of the Internet.

Bar and Court Admissions

  • District of Columbia Bar
  • Virginia Bar
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third, Fourth, Sixth
    and District of Columbia Circuits
  • U.S. District Courts for the District of Columbia and Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia

Professional Affiliations

  • Chair (1996-1998) and Steering Committee (1998-2000), Global Telecommunications and Information Task Force, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • American Bar Association - Co-Chair, Telecommunications and Mass Media Committee, Section of Science and Technology Law (2005-2007)
    • Chair, Communications Law Division, Section of Science and Technology Law (1992-1998, 2002-2004)
    • Council Member (1998-2001) and Budget Officer (1998-2002), Section of Science and Technology Law
    • Member, Governing Board, Forum on Communications Law (1993-1996)
    • Chair, Subcommittee on Information Infrastructure, Committee on the Law of Commerce in Cyberspace, Section of Business Law (1996-1999)
  • Member, Federal Communications Bar Association

Representative Publications & Speeches

  • Speaker, “Negotiating Fiber Optic Contracts,” Law Seminars International Webinar, Online (June 27, 2011)
  • Co-author, Pax Americana: U.S. Dispute Resolution of International Telecommunications Contracts, Center for International Legal Studies (2008)
  • Author, Protection for “Personally Identifiable Information” in Bankruptcy Sales, Privacy in Focus (December 2007)
  • Speaker, “Consumer Privacy in Bankruptcy,” Law Seminars International: The FCC’s New Privacy Rules, Washington, D.C. (October 29, 2007)
  • Contributing Author, Bankruptcy Telecommunications Manual, 2nd Ed., American Bankruptcy Institute (2006)
  • Speaker, “Content Issues: Licensing, Adult Services and Other Liability Concerns for Wired and Wireless Broadband Networks,” Law Seminars International’s Broadband and Carrier Telecom Deals, Atlanta, GA (November 7-8, 2005)
  • Contributing Author, Bankruptcy Telecommunications Manual, 1st Ed., American Bankruptcy Institute (2003)
  • Speaker, “Voice-Over IP: Regulatory and Contract Issues,” LSI Conference: Negotiating Carrier-to-Carrier Telecommunications Deals, Atlanta, GA
    (November 7, 2003)
  • Speaker, “Top Ten Tips for Negotiating Integrated Services/Website Agreements,” Law Seminars International: Negotiating Carrier-to-Carrier Telecommunications Deals, San Francisco, CA (July 25, 2003)
  • Speaker, “The Broadband Regulatory Environment,” Law Seminars International: Negotiating Telecommunications Deals, San Francisco, CA (July 25-26, 2002)
Back to Top