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Karl W. Butterer

1700 East Beltline, N.E.
Suite 200
Grand Rapids, MI 49525-7044
T 616.726.2212
F 616.726.2299


As a member of the Employer Services practice group, Karl has over 25 years of experience representing employers both in and out of the courtroom. Karl regularly advises governmental entities, manufacturers, small businesses, health care providers, and large corporations. He gives employers practical advice from hiring, to the termination of the employment relationship to help them comply with the law and avoid litigation.

Representative matters include:

  • Advising employers regarding wage and overtime policies to comply with Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • Counseling human resources directors of small and medium sized businesses regarding disciplinary, termination, and severance issues.
  • Negotiating and preparing executive employment agreements.
  • Preparing public employer responses to union grievances alleging violations of collective bargaining agreements.
  • Investigating allegations of sexual harassment against company executive on behalf of employer.
  • Working with employers in a wide variety of industries and sizes to develop employee handbooks and hiring procedures to facilitate human resources operations and avoid litigation.
  • Consulting public school district regarding compliance with Family Medical Leave Act.

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

  • Defended mid-sized company in National Labor Relations Board administrative proceedings against charge that company terminated worker for engaging in activities protected by National Labor Relations Act.
  • Represented small manufacturer in investigation, appeal and dismissal of citation for violation of MIOSHA lockout/tagout safety standards.
  • Arbitrated union grievance on behalf of municipal employer regarding wage and benefit issues.
  • Litigated religious discrimination and retaliation claims in federal court on behalf of health care provider.
  • Defended municipality against charge of unfair labor practices under Michigan Public Employment Relations Act.
  • Filed complaint and request for preliminary injunction to enforce non-compete agreement on behalf of employer health care provider.
  • Defended government employer against gender discrimination and retaliation charges filed with Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

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.

Karl has been selected by Best Lawyers in America® in the areas of Employment Law and Commercial Litigation. Additionally, Karl has been recognized by Martindale-Hubbell and was given the top AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating.

Honors & Recognitions

AV® Preeminent™ Martindale-Hubbell

Best Lawyers in America® 2020-2024 (Commercial Litigation)

Best Lawyers in America® 2021-2024 (Employment Law – Management)


Memberships & Affiliations

Legal Affiliations:
  • American Bar Association
  • State Bar of Michigan
    • State Bar Representative Assembly for 17th Circuit
  • Michigan State Bar Foundation, Fellow
Industry & Professional Associations:
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association, Executive Committee for Litigation Section
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association, Former Board of Trustee Member and Chair of Membership Services
  • Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys
  • County Road Association of Michigan, Associate Member
  • Edelweiss Club of Grand Rapids
  • University of Michigan Club of Grand Rapids
  • The Employers' Association
Community Service
  • City of Grand Rapids
    • Income Tax Board of Review
    • Housing Appeals Board



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News & Events

Speaking Engagements

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2023 Labor & Employment Law Update

NLRB Update Contract Clauses
NLRB Update Contract Clauses

Employer Services

Fair Labor Standards Act Compliance Issues
Fair Labor Standards Act Compliance Issues


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