Experienced and high quality legal representation for Frankfort and beyond.

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J. Guthrie True

  • Partner

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Practice Areas:

  • White Collar Criminal Defense
  • Complex Civil Litigation
  • Administrative Law
  • Personal Injury
  • Government Investigations
  • Healthcare Litigation
  • Appeals


J. Guthrie True was born in Shelbyville, Kentucky, and was raised on the family farms in Franklin and Shelby Counties. He graduated from Franklin County High School in 1977.  Guthrie is a summa cum laude graduate of Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky, where he received his Bachelor of Science in business and economics in 1981.  He was a member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity and served as his chapter’s president.  Guthrie has maintained his connection to his alma mater serving on the Georgetown College Board of Trustees since 2002, and has been honored to be elected by his fellow Board members to terms as Chair and Vice Chair of the Board.  He also served on the College’s presidential search committee.  

After college Guthrie attended the University of Kentucky College of Law where he served as President of the Moot Court
Board.  After completing law school in 1984, he joined the law firm of Stoll, Keenon & Park (now Stoll Keenon Ogden) as an associate and eventually a partner.  In 1995, Guthrie and his long-time partner, Richard Guarnieri, broke away to form their own multi-lawyer firm focusing primarily on litigation and administrative law.  Guthrie was pleased to have his daughter, Whitney True Lawson, join the firm in 2011.  Guthrie, Richard Guarnieri, Bill Ayer, and Whitney True Lawson, formed True Guarnieri Ayer, LLP in 2012.  Philip C. Lawson joined True Guarnieri Ayer, LLP in 2017.

Guthrie’s practice focuses on white collar criminal defense.  He spends much of his time representing individuals and corporations in federal and state grand jury investigations, and defending individuals and corporations at trial on indictments in federal and state courts in areas ranging from health care fraud to campaign finance to tax-related matters.  He also focuses on complex civil litigation, False Claims Act litigation, products liability and personal injury litigation. 

During his career, Guthrie has tried well over 100 cases to jury verdicts, as well as trying many other administrative law cases.  He has secured numerous acquittals and dismissals for his criminal defense clients, recovered tens of millions of dollars for his personal injury clients, won victories on appeal, and obtained countless favorable results for individuals and businesses entangled in civil litigation.  He has literally tried everything from murder cases to certificate of need cases.  He has argued many cases in the appellate courts and has numerous published opinions from the Kentucky Court of Appeals, the Kentucky Supreme Court, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  Guthrie frequently represents clients in high profile civil and criminal cases that are reported in state and national electronic and print media.  A small sample of these cases can be found here.  He has a great deal of experience guiding high profile political and government figures in dealing with the challenges of the courts and the court of public opinion. 

Guthrie is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.  He is also a Fellow of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers.  He is regularly recognized for his expertise by the publications The Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers.  He has been selected by Best Lawyers as a Lawyer of the Year on several occasions.  He has been rated AV® Preeminent ™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®.  He was appointed by the Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives and the President of the Kentucky Senate to serve on the Task Force on the Penal Code and Controlled Substances Act.  Guthrie was honored to receive the Donated Legal Services Award from the Kentucky Bar Association for his service on the Task Force.  He has served as President of the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and has served on the Board of the Kentucky Bar Foundation. 


  • University of Kentucky College of Law, Lexington, Kentucky
    • J.D., Doctor of Jurisprudence - 00/1984
  • Georgetown College, Georgetown, Kentucky
    • B.S. - 1981
    • Honors: summa cum laude

Bar Admission

  • Kentucky, 1984
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1989
  • U.S. District Court, 1984
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Kentucky, 1984
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Kentucky, 1987
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 1989


  • Rated Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters
  • Rated Best Lawyer in Lexington, Kentucky area by U.S. News – Best Lawyers in Commercial Litigation, Criminal Defense: General Practice, Criminal Defense: White Collar, Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants, Personal Injury Litigation - Plaintiffs, Product Liability Litigation - Defendants, Product Liability Litigation - Plaintiffs
  • Awarded Lawyer of the Year by U.S. News - Best Lawyers for the Lexington, Kentucky Area
  • 2013 – Criminal Defense: General Practice
  • 2014 – Personal Injury Litigation – Defense
  • 2015 – Criminal Defense: General Practice
  • 2016 – Criminal Defense: White Collar
  • 2017 – Criminal Defense: General Practice
  • 2018 – Criminal Defense: White Collar
  • AV® Preeminent ™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Top 50 - Kentucky Super Lawyers

Pro-Bono Activities

  • Member, Board of Trustees, Georgetown College, 2002
  • Member, Board of Trustees, Georgetown College, Chair, 2008
  • Member, Board of Trustees, Georgetown College, Chair, 2009

Professional Associations

  • America College of Trial Lawyers
  • American Board of Criminal Lawyers
  • American Bar Association
  • Kentucky Bar Association
  • Franklin Bar Association (Past President)
  • Fayette County Bar Associations
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (Past President)
  • American Association of Justice
  • Kentucky Justice Association
  • National Health Lawyers Association