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Samuel C. Butler

Special Counsel, Corporate

Samuel C. Butler serves as Special Counsel in Cravath’s Corporate Department. He retired from the Firm on December 31, 2003, and was named Special Counsel in 2004. Mr. Butler’s practice involved a wide variety of general corporate, merger and acquisition, general securities and international legal matters.

Mr. Butler acted as the senior outside legal advisor to many companies, including Ashland, Bristol‑Myers Squibb, CBS, Cummins, Fund America (now known as White Mountains Insurance), Lucent, Olin and Paine Webber. He represented companies in a number of the largest merger and acquisition transactions ever completed, including Squibb in its acquisition by Bristol‑Myers, Time in its acquisition of Warner Communications, Cap Cities/ABC in its acquisition by Disney, CBS in its acquisition by Westinghouse, GEICO in its acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway, Conrail in its acquisition by CSX and Norfolk Southern, Salomon Smith Barney in its acquisition by Travelers Group and Paine Webber in its acquisition by UBS. Mr. Butler was counsel to the European Union and the European Investment Bank in their U.S. financial and securities law matters for over 40 years.

In addition to his legal work, Mr. Butler was Chairman of the Board of the New York Public Library from 1999 through 2004 and remains a Trustee. He also served as a Trustee of the September 11 Fund, Vassar College, the American Museum of Natural History and the Culver Educational Foundation, as well as a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers from 1982 through 1988 (President of the Board from 1986 through 1988). He has also been a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Harvard Law School since 1997.

Mr. Butler was born in Logansport, Indiana. He received an A.B. magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1951, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and received a Sheldon Traveling Fellowship, and an L.L.B. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1954, where he was an Editor of the Law Review and a recipient of a Sears Prize. After clerking for Hon. Sherman Minton of the United States Supreme Court and serving in the U.S. Army, he joined Cravath in 1956, became a partner in 1961 and was the Firm’s Presiding Partner from 1980 through 1998.

Mr. Butler may be reached by phone at +1‑212‑474‑1550 or by email at

Mr. Butler is admitted only in New York.

+1 (212) 474-1550
+1 (212) 474-3700