PETER BUTLER is a passionate lawyer, whose experience of over more than 20 years has seen him practise as a litigator in Sydney, Melbourne, London and New York. He has held management roles, including being a managing partner of Herbert Smith Freehills. He spent two years on secondment to Reuters in London as special counsel for the board and head of compliance Peter’s most recent challenge is as chair of the five-member Advisory Board of Practical Law Australia, a Thomson Reuters initiative designed to help law firms and legal departments practise more efficiently.
Peter’s most recent challenge is as chair of the five-member Advisory Board of Practical Law Australia, a Thomson Reuters initiative designed to help law firms and legal departments practise more efficiently, by providing how-to guides, maintained precedent documents and clauses, and supporting checklists and flowcharts.
The Advisory Board advises on the direction of the service and ensures that it stays at the leading edge of practice. The combined experience of Practical Law Australia’s own inhouse team of legal writers and the board ensures the resources are of the highest quality, are of practical use to those working in the field, and reflect state-of-the-art methods of knowledge management.
Peter Butler said, “I spent 10 years as head of litigation and then a managing partner, but I always saw these as temporary roles. My goal was to get back to my practice. Fortunately, my re-entry to full time practice in 2010 went well, and I have kept very busy.”
“Being passionate about the technical side of the law as well as the application of the law is what helps us solve clients’ problems. I could see that there was a space in the profession for a service that could help practitioners find the information they needed to help their clients faster and more effectively.”
“Practitioners are busy, and they need all the help they can get. A solution that lets them focus on problem solving, instead of research, is ideal.”
“Practical Law Australia tries, and succeeds in my opinion, to encourage lawyers to deep dive into their topic of research and find the answer to the client’s problem quickly and, most importantly, accurately.”
“It also aims to assist in not just providing a technical solution, but also through using of precedents and suggestions in the text, helping practitioners learn from others who know that area intimately.”
Having been an avid user of Practical Law in the UK, Peter jumped at the chance to get involved in a local version for Australia. He was invited to sit on the Board of Advisors to help set the strategic direction and develop the content for Practical Law Australia.
Peter regularly lectures on topics including directors’ obligations and legal professional privilege. He is the chair of Herbert Smith Freehills’ Global Pro Bono and Citizenship Council. He was the national chairman of the Starlight Children’s Foundation from 2008 to 2016, and is now a board member, and also a member of the Audit and Risk Committee. He is the chair of the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation Advisory Council and Thomson Reuters’ Practical Law Australia Board of Advisors. He is also a board member of the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation and of the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC).