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Jackson Butler

Jackson Butler: Getting the most out of law school

The 2016-17 SBA president advises law students to be involved and learn the through experiences and opportunities that come their way.

Jackson Butler has been a leader and peer advocate at WVU Law since his first year as a law student.

The 3L from Oklahoma City rose through the ranks of the Student Bar Association (SBA), the College of Law’s student government, and currently serves as 2016-17 SBA president. He got his start as a 1L class senator and was elected SBA vice president as a 2L.

“I saw SBA as a way to be involved with all facets of the school, the students and the administration,” said Butler. “It was an opportunity to help shape my own environment rather than just have it shape me, to help improve things at the law school, and to immerse myself in the culture of WVU Law. I wanted to be the person to help facilitate change, to get our voices heard.”

Among his accomplishments as a student leader, Butler cites SBA’s advocacy for a more substantial business law curriculum. Students are now starting to see more business course options on a more regular basis, he says, thanks to the law school administration.

Butler is also proud that, this year, SBA helped raise more than $1,100 for the Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center through their annual 5k race fundraiser. The organization will also host an inaugural alumni golf tournament on April 1 at Lakeview Golf Resort and Spa with proceeds benefitting Legal Aid of West Virginia.

“Jackson has taken the Student Bar Association to the next level,” said Tina Jernigan, assistant dean for student life. “Under his leadership, SBA has been a voice for the student body – a voice that has been heard and respected by both his classmates and law school administration.”

According to Butler, they key to success in law school is to be involved and learn through experiences and opportunities that come along.

In addition to his role as SBA president, Butler serves as president of tax law society and business law society. He is also an associate justice on moot court, associate editor for law review, and a mentor for new members of Black Law Students Association.

He also works as a research assistant for professor Elaine Wilson and contributed scholarship to three publications last semester.

Although he always wanted to be a lawyer, Butler worked as a project manager for defense contractor L-3 Communications after earning his bachelor’s degree in quantitative economics from Oklahoma State University.

Prior to law school, Butler backpacked through Europe and spent time in Germany and Italy. He returned to the United States and worked at Farmers Insurance before beginning his law career with the hopes of working in public interest to be a champion for those in need.

WVU Law’s public interest and energy law programs initially interested Butler when he was applying to law school, but he later discovered a love for tax law.

He now combines his interest in tax law with his passion for helping others as Philanthropy West Virginia’s Tax and Policy Fellow.

There, he contributed to the Keep 5 Local project, which works to keep at least five percent of West Virginia’s local wealth in the state to benefit future generations. He also helped re-implement the tax credit system for tax payers who make a charitable contribution in West Virginia.

Last summer, Butler worked in Charleston, West Virginia, for the law firm Ray, Winton & Kelly. He also participated in the College of Law’s 2016 Study Abroad Program in Geneva that focused on international trade law.

“Students at WVU Law will get out of their experience what they put into it. For me, I wanted to maximize my experience and get the most out of law school that I could. I don’t want to look back and say ‘I wish I would have done a little bit more or worked a little bit harder’,” Butler explained. “I have gotten so much back from what I put in, not only academically and professionally, but personally. It all comes from being involved and being exposed to all these things I’ve been able to accomplish.”

Written by Chelsi Baker, WVU Law Communications Specialist.

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