Bookmark Print E-mail

Past Events

Butler Derrick, Attorney at LawButler Derrick is a South Carolina-Washington lawyer and governmental relations consultant. He is a former United States Congressman, having served for 20 years. Before coming to Congress, he served in the South Carolina House of Representatives and was the senior partner in a small law firm in Edgefield, S.C. He had a diverse practice, but specialized in criminal and civil litigation.

Mr. Derrick was born in Springfield, Mass., on Sept. 30, 1936. His parents, native South Carolinians, later returned to Florence, S.C., where he grew up and graduated from public schools. He holds a degree from the University of South Carolina, a Bachelor of Laws from the Lumpkin Law School, the University of Georgia. He was president of his class at USC and LSL at UGA.

He was elected to the South Carolina Legislature in 1968. Mr. Derrick served on the Ways & Means Committee in the South Carolina Legislature and was the first freshman member to sit on the Budget Conference Committee. During this period, he also served as floor leader for the Speaker.

Mr. Derrick was elected to the United States Congress in 1974 and did not offer for election in 1994. During his service, he served 12 years on the House Budget Committee and was the first freshman congressman to serve on this committee. During his tenure, he served several terms as Chairman of Reconciliation. He served on the Banking and Finance Committee for four years. Mr. Derrick was appointed to the powerful Rules Committee by then-speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill in 1979. When he retired in 1995, he was Vice Chairman.

He was appointed by Speaker O'Neill to head the first task force to pass a budget in 1980. His ability to bring about compromise led to Speaker Thomas Foley's appointment of him as Chief Deputy Whip, making him the fifth ranking member of the leadership in the House.

From his congressional service, he gained extensive experience in the fields of legislative procedure and budget process. He maintains close contact with the leaders in the Senate and House. During his congressional service, Mr. Derrick enjoyed a reputation as a thoughtful and pragmatic member who could secure passage of important legislation by working behind the scenes.

Since leaving Congress, he has practiced with a regional and an international law firm and is now a partner in the firm Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, having opened their Washington office. He continues to represent private, public, and association clients before Congress and government agencies.

Mr. Derrick has served as a member of the Secretary of Energy's Advisory Board; the South Carolina Nuclear Waste Program's Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel as Chairman; the Department of Energy's Commission on the Evaluation of Nonproliferation Programs with Russia; A Rand Corp. advisory board; the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs; the boards of Entrust Inc., a software firm; United Nations Association; National Wildlife Caucus; Common Cause Presidents Council; and The Institute for Representative Government.

He serves as an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina. Mr. Derrick publishes a bi-weekly column in the Charleston Mercury. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, he has published Stitching A Hole in the President's Pocket, a Study of the Pocket Veto. His speech, "Political Trends in the US Congress And The Next Administration," was published in Vital Speeches (Vol.LXIV, No3). This was a joint presentation with former Congressman John Napier.