Karl W. Butterer

Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC

$ $$$

East Beltline Avenue Northeast 1700
Grand Rapids 49525 MI US

Karl Butterer is an established litigator with 20 years of highly successful legal experience representing governmental entities, manufacturers, small businesses, health care providers, and large corporations.

He joined the firm in 2012 and currently concentrates his practice in the areas of employment, torts, civil rights, contract disputes as well as commercial litigation. Karl has been recognized by Martindale-Hubbell. Additionally, American Lawyer Media has selected Karl as a 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in Labor & Employment.

Karl gives employers practical advice from the initial hire to the termination of the employment relationship to help them comply with the law and avoid litigation. Recent representative matters include:

  • Advised commodity trucking and harvesting company regarding wage and overtime policies to comply with Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • Prepared independent contractor agreements for advertising firm’s salespeople.
  • Worked with manufacturing, health care, and municipal clients to develop employee handbooks and hiring procedures to facilitate human resources operations and avoid litigation.
  • Developed leave policies and procedures for growing home nursing care employer to comply with Family Medical Leave Act.
  • Counseled human resources directors of variety of small and medium sized businesses regarding employee disciplinary, termination, and severance issues.
  • Conducted internal investigation for municipal employer regarding charges of sex discrimination and retaliation.

Karl takes a vigorous and proactive approach in pursuing his clients’ interests. Sometimes litigation is a client’s best or only option. Recently, Karl litigated a variety of state, federal and administrative matters, including:

  • Defended mid-sized company in National Labor Relations Board administrative proceedings against a charge that company terminated worker for engaging in activities protected by National Labor Relations Act.
  • Defended majority shareholder against complaint filed by minority shareholder alleging misappropriation of corporate opportunities.
  • Filed complaint and request for preliminary injunction to enforce non-compete agreement on behalf of employer health care provider.
  • Defended municipal employer against gender discrimination and retaliation charges filed with Michigan Department of Civil Rights.
  • Litigated property easement dispute between Lake Michigan riparian property owners.

Karl is a graduate of the University of Michigan and received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Indiana University School of Law. He served as a member of the Executive Committee for the Litigation Section of the Grand Rapids Bar Association.

He also served on its Board of Trustees and Chaired the Membership Services Committee. Additionally, he represented the 17th Circuit as elected representative to the State Bar of Michigan Representative Assembly.


  • Indiana University School of Law, J.D., 1994
  • University of Michigan, B.A., 1989

Bar and Court Admissions:

  • State Bar of Michigan
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan



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East Beltline Avenue Northeast 1700
Grand Rapids 49525 MI US
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Lina Stillman

Broadway 42
New York 10006 NY US