Professor Butler researches and teaches in the areas of criminal law, race relations law, and critical theory. His scholarship has been published in many leading scholarly journals, including the Yale Law Journal, the Harvard Law Review (two articles), the Stanford Law Review and the UCLA Law Review (three articles). He is the author of the widely reviewed “Let’s Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice,” which received the Harry Chapin Media award.
Professor Butler is one of the nation’s most frequently consulted scholars on issues of race and criminal justice. His scholarship has been the subject of much attention in the academic and popular media. His work has been profiled on 60 Minutes, Nightline, and The ABC, CBS and NBC Evening News, among other places. Professor Butler has written a column for The Legal Times and has published numerous op-ed articles and book reviews, including in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and The Daily Beast. He lectures regularly for the American Bar Association and the NAACP, and at universities and community organizations. Professor Butler has been awarded the Soros Justice Fellowship. He was elected to the American Law Institute in 2003.
Professor Butler was the Carville Dickinson Benson Research Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School. He also served as Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development. He was awarded the Professor of the Year award three times by the GW graduating class. Professor Butler has been a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Prior to joining the academy, Professor Butler served as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice, where his specialty was public corruption. His prosecutions included a United States Senator, three FBI agents, and several other law enforcement officials. While at the Department of Justice, Professor Butler also worked as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, prosecuting drug and gun cases.
Professor Butler is a cum laude graduate of Yale, and a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. He clerked for the Hon. Mary Johnson Lowe in the United States District Court in New York, and then joined the law firm of Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C., where he specialized in white collar criminal defense.
U.S. Supreme Court Briefs
Book Chapters & Collected Works
"Arizona Prisons' Ban on Book About Racism in Criminal Justice Draws Challenge", coverage in The New York Times, May 22, 2019, quoting Professor Paul Butler. For more on this story, see CNN.
"This book criticizes racism in the justice system. Arizona prisoners aren’t allowed to read it.," coverage by The Washington Post, May 22, 2019, featuring Distinguished Visitory from Professor Paul Butler's Chokehold: Policing Black Men, and quoting Professor Christy Lopez.
"Arizona Prisons Ban Book On Black Men In The Justice System," coverage by Huff Post, May 21, 2019, featuring Professor Paul Butler's Chokehold: Policing Black Men.
"Arizona prisons urged to end ban on book about black men," coverage by The Washington Post, May 21, 2019, featuring Professor Paul Butler's Chokehold: Policing Black Men. For more on this story, see The New York Times.