Robert K. Butterfield

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direct: (858) 444-2312 | cell: (619) 316-4335 | fax: (858) 444-3527

e-mail: [email protected]

“The most important thing to know about ERISA is what's important.” – Rob Butterfield

Practice Areas: Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation, ERISA, Estate Planning, Corporate Planning, Tax Law

Robert (Rob) K. Butterfield was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1951. With a long family history steeped in the New England states (and the Caribbean), Rob remained rooted in the area and attended Boston University, where he obtained his undergraduate degree in 1974. No stranger to hard work and adventure, Mr. Butterfield made his way West to San Diego to attend the University of San Diego School of Law where he earned his Juris Doctorate in 1977.

Mr. Butterfield's legal career extends over four decades in San Diego. He has practiced employee benefits, tax, estate planning and corporate law since 1977. Beyond his legal career, Mr. Butterfield remains a dedicated community leader cofounding “Promises2Kids”, participating in many charitable events throughout each year, running for U.S. Congress as a nominee of a major political party in 1988, and has held several past leadership positions in local civic and legal organizations:

  • Past President, Western Pension and Employee Benefits Council – San Diego Chapter
  • Member, Administrative Board of the San Diego City Retirement System, 1986-1991
  • Member, City of San Diego's 2004 Pension Reform Committee
  • Member, Taxation Section, State Bar of California, 1977 to present
  • Member, San Diego County Bar Association Taxation Section, 1977 to present, Chairman 1985

Mr. Butterfield enjoys an active lifestyle when he is outside of the office, where he can be found skiing during the winter, hiking, and captaining his waterski boat on our local bays with his loyal dog, Cannoli (during the summer). An avid historian and lifelong learner, Mr. Butterfield enjoys travel. A “bucket list” item is to visit the Caribbean island of Saba where his maternal grandfather grew up (descended from pirates). He also has his interests in the arts. Mr. Butterfield's daughter, Jillian Butterfield, is an accomplished singer and performer, who currently resides in New York City (except when she is performing). Jillian has recently secured the lead role as Belle in the production of Beauty and the Beast on the Disney Dream cruise ship.


  • Boston University (B.S., Political Science/Minor, Biology, 1974)
  • University of San Diego School of Law (J.D., 1977)


  • State of California
  • State of Connecticut
  • United States Tax Court

Awards & Accolades

  • AV® Peer Review rating from the Martindale Hubbell International Law Directory
  • “The Best Lawyers in America”, 1991-2000, 2005-2011, 2013-2017
  • 2018 San Diego Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law “Lawyer of the Year”

Professional Memberships

  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • California State Bar Association, Tax Section, Estate Planning and Business Sections
  • Western Pension & Benefits Council San Diego Chapter

Beyond the Office

  • Promises2Kids, Co-Founder

Retirement Plans

We help establish a customized plan that meets regulatory requirements as a tax qualified plan. Following implementation, our attorneys can assist clients and their plan administrator with regular reviews and updates to help with regulatory compliance for the plan's operation, and continued effectiveness in meeting the client's specific goals.


We are dedicated to employee ownership. When you come to us for ESOP services, you receive influential legal counsel who stand beside you to help you stay informed, in compliance, and abreast of the latest developments-all to help you realize your plan goals as fully and effectively as possible.


A QDRO is a specially designed court order that is required for the division of retirement benefits in a family law case. Many family law attorneys do not possess the expertise necessary to divide retirement benefits or stock options upon divorce. We have extensive experience in dividing qualified plans, government plans, IRAs and stock options between the employee spouse and non-employee spouse.

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