Shawn N. Butte

Managing Associate

New York

Shawn Butte is a managing associate in the New York office. His practice focuses on representing clients in high-stakes employment litigation, including restrictive covenant and trade secret matters, and conducting internal investigations.

Shawn's practice involves crafting creative, practical solutions to complex legal challenges faced by corporations and emerging companies in a range of industries, including media, software, insurance, financial services, retail and pharmaceuticals.

Shawn regularly handles litigation involving employee mobility, employee raiding, trade secret misappropriation, unfair competition, and class and collective actions. Shawn has experience in both federal and state court, as well as in alternative dispute forums such as the American Arbitration Association, and has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in TRO and preliminary injunction hearings.

In addition to his litigation practice, Shawn advises management on a variety of workplace issues, including employee mobility, trade secret protection, wage and hour policies, employee classification, and internal investigations. He also frequently serves as outside counsel to both domestic and international startups trying to expand in the U.S. market. Shawn uses his experience as a litigator to help clients proactively avoid protracted legal disputes. Shawn has also advised clients on employment issues in connection with mergers, acquisitions and other corporate transactions. 

Shawn is an editor and contributing author of Orrick's trade secrets blog, Trade Secrets Watch. Shawn regularly writes about trending issues in restrictive covenant and trade secrets litigation.

Shawn is recognized by Super Lawyers as a New York Metro area "Rising Star” (2018-2020). 

  • Select Experience 

    Litigation Experience 

    • Defended public pharmaceutical company against emergency TRO filed by a competitor alleging violations of a non-competition agreement and theft of trade secrets.
    • Defended international restaurant in putative class and collective action.
    • Represented national hospitality management company in U.S. Department of Labor audit.
    • Defended financial services company in a federal wage and hour lawsuit alleging misclassification of managers.
    • Second-chaired representation of a public retail company in a 10-day hearing before the American Arbitration Association involving claims of hostile work environment and retaliation.

    Advice and Counsel Experience 

    • Advised digital entertainment company regarding negotiation with former employee suspected of misappropriating trade secrets and violating restrictive covenant obligations. 
    • Advised national hospitality management company regarding use and implementation of non-compete restrictions.
    • Advised public food and beverage company regarding enforcement of no-poach agreement entered into as part of corporate transaction. 
    • Advised hospital with design and implementation of post-baccalaureate internship program. 
    • Advised international emerging company with use of independent contractors in the United States.
    • Regularly advise employers with design and implementation of dispute resolution programs, including mandatory arbitration.

    Pro Bono

    • Represented Jamaican national seeking asylum in the United States to escape persecution based on sexual orientation. 
    • Advised international non-profit regarding hiring employees in the United States and utilizing independent contractors.
    • David et. al. v State of Missouri: Along with the ACLU and the MacArthur Justice Center, Shawn represents indigent defendants in Missouri who are suing the State to end the unconstitutional practice of placing criminal defendants on a "waiting list" for legal representation by the Missouri Public Defender's office. Shawn successfully argued the motion for class certification on behalf of the Petitioners, which was granted by Missouri State Court Judge William Hickle.