David Butler: A Champion of Economic Justice

David Butler: A Champion of Economic Justice

The Colorado Center on Law and Policy is proud to bestow this year’s Champion of Economic Justice Award on two people who have devoted their lives to helping low-income individuals and families: David Butler, Esq. and Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver. Both of these accomplished individuals will be honored at CCLP’s 3rd Annual Pathways from Poverty Breakfast, Oct. 6 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the History Colorado Center in Denver.

A member of CCLP’s Board of Directors since 2006, David Butler has a long and decorated career serving his country, Colorado and low-income individuals. A native of St. Paul, Minn., Mr. Butler graduated from Princeton University in 1952 and served in the U.S. Army from 1952 to 1954. Following his time in the armed services, Butler attended Harvard Law School where he was an editor for the Harvard Law Review.

After graduating from Harvard in 1957, he moved to Colorado and began his career practicing law. He joined Holland & Hart LLP in 1957, became a partner in 1963 and stayed with the firm until 2008. While with Holland & Hart, he specialized in financial services and banking litigation and served on the Board of Directors for Columbine National Bank and UMB Bank Colorado.

Outside of his work with Holland & Hart, Butler was active in expanding access to legal services that are critical for low-income Coloradans through nonprofit organizations throughout the state. He has worked with the Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Denver, served as Chairman for the Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado, the Colorado Planning Group for Legal Service to the Poor as well as the Colorado Access to Justice Commission — each with a mission to provide legal services to low-income Coloradans. In response to congressional cuts for legal services for the poor in the late 1990s, Butler served as counsel for the consolidation of Colorado’s three Legal Aid entities into one entity so that the legal aid community could be as effective as possible with the limited resources available.

Butler has consistently insisted in law journals that equality can only be achieved when all have equal access to critical legal services. While he acknowledged that barriers to legal services were more often than not economic ones, he also encouraged others to see that ethnicity, immigration status, and physical or mental impairments posed significant barriers as well.

As Treasurer of CCLP’s Board of Directors, Butler draws upon his expertise in financial and banking law to ensure the organization is financially sound and pursues goals that are within its capacity. His colleagues at CCLP are impressed with his ability to keep the bigger picture in mind regarding the mission of helping impoverished Coloradans achieve self-sufficiency.

It has been said that when Butler raises a thought, everyone gives their undivided attention because of his unique historical perspective on the issues and his life-long efforts to help those in need. He is known to ask the tough but necessary questions that guide CCLP’s efforts to forge pathways from poverty. Colleagues have lauded him as an accessible and selfless individual who serves everyday as an indispensible mentor, good friend and tireless advocate for low-income individuals and families in Colorado.

CCLP is honored to have such an accomplished and kind-hearted individual serve on its Board of Directors and pleased to present him with this prestigious award honoring his steadfast commitment to forging pathways from poverty.

Registration for the Pathways from Poverty Breakfast, which also features a keynote speech from Andy Stern of Columbia University, is available online.

-Kristopher Grant