Business & economy

Vale native returns to join family law firm after service in Navy

VALE – You can go home again.
Just ask Louis Butler.
Butler, 44, recently joined the law firm of Butler & Looney PC after a 24-year career in the U.S. Navy. His focus will be on contract, real estate and estate planning law as he works alongside his father, Bob, who has been an attorney in Vale since 1967.
The law firm will host a barbecue to welcome from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, in front of the law firm at 292 Main St. S. The community is invited to the free lunch.
Butler, who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2002, said he is glad to bring his wife, Rachel, and their three children back to the place he grew up.
“We went all around the world and every place we’d go, we’d try to get a sense of ‘is this going to be a place where we want to settle down.’ Ultimately, we realized eastern Oregon with its conservative values and community-oriented society is the best place to raise a family,” said Butler, who now lives in Nyssa.
Butler spent most of his Navy career as a judge advocate, a military attorney, in different bases across the globe and in the United States.
Butler entered into his military legal career in an unconventional way.
Accepted into the Naval Academy in 1996, Butler departed after two years to fulfill his mission in Japan for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The decision was somewhat unusual because most Naval cadets don’t depart midway through their schooling and expect to return.
“The Naval Academy won’t let people take a break. You have to actually resign your commission and if you come back you have to reapply,” said Butler.
The time in Japan, said Butler, was “amazing…You get to experience an entirely new culture.”
When done in Japan, he sought admission again into the Naval Academy.
“There were six of us that went on a mission that year and five us got back in,” said Butler.
Butler said he was still focused on becoming a lawyer.
“I just didn’t know how I was going to do it, what path I would take to get there,” he said.
The Navy helped him, he said.
After serving a stint on a ship at sea – what the Navy calls a surface warfare officer – Butler applied to transfer to become a JAG officer.
After he was accepted to the JAG corps, Butler attended the University of Washington where he earned his law degree in 2008.
As a military lawyer, Butler saw everything a practicing defense attorney or prosecutor would encounter in civilian life in places like Japan and Portugal.
One of Butler’s roles was to advise senior commanders on legal matters.
That duty often included cases involving the conduct of Navy leaders.
“There were a lot of cases of firing commanding officers. That was always difficult,” said Butler.
If the case involved some type of misconduct it was straightforward, said Butler. A case involving a decision by a commander that led to an accident or some other violations, it became more complicated, said Butler.
Butler said, overall, the Navy does a good job with its oversight duties of its leaders.
“They hold people accountable when they need to be held accountable,” said Butler.
Butler said while he was stationed at many different places across the globe, his favorite duty was at the base in Yokosuka, Japan.
Butler said he likes his new job in Vale.
“I enjoyed my military career and practice but what I like to do is give personal advice to clients. If I can help them develop an estate plan and or prepare for the end of life, I think that is a great service I can provide,” said Butler.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected].

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