As a key practitioner at prominent Fairfax law firm, ShounBach, Susan Butler has emerged in recent years as one of Northern Virginia's top young divorce attorneys. Still in her 40's, Ms. Butler -who peers characterize as cheerful, practical and well-organized -has a stalwart dignity and resourcefulness, not far removed from her Connecticut roots. Throughout her career, she has worked with some of the best matrimonial lawyers in Virginia and the District of Columbia, and by all accounts she has emerged as an exceptional appellate attorney as well as a formidable trial attorney.
Susan Butler grew up in the small town of Naugatuck, Connecticut, where she says "small-town lawyers really were examples of leadership and guidance. I respected that from an early age." A soccer player in high school, Butler turned to rowing at Mount Holyoke College and excelled in that pursuit for several years. Her eight-woman crew won regattas throughout the nation.
After briefly working for a New York City publishing house, Butler headed to law school at the District of Columbia's Catholic University. "I thought I'd become a tax or employee-benefit lawyer at the time, but those fields offer limited interaction with people." Instead, she returned to Hartford and worked in a small general practice where she was immersed in litigation. "I participated in a high-asset, high profile divorce trial right away. It was fascinating and important. And the personal and immediate results for our client were very gratifying."
That experience helped her focus on matrimonial law, and when she moved to Washington three years later, partly for personal reasons (she had met her now-husband in law school), she joined a well-established divorce practice in downtown Washington. For several years she worked with James Rider, the renowned divorce attorney and mediator whom she regards as one of the great mentors of her career.
Butler then joined ShounBach in 2004, where her family law practice in Northern Virginia -including mediation as well as litigation -has thrived. While in law school, she received the American Jurisprudence Award in Alternative Dispute Resolution, in recognition of her skills in mediation, and what peers call her "classy" approach to resolving cases. "I always encourage my client to take the high road, no matter the circumstances."
She has been an elected member of the Virginia State Bar Council, the governing body for Virginia attorneys, since 2008. She is a faculty member of the Law School Professionalism Course of the Virginia State Bar.
Butler maintains an athletic level of energy by cycling and running regularly. She has run more than a dozen marathons. She and her husband live in nearby Prince William County.