True Guarnieri Ayer, LLP | Attorneys At Law


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Photo of Attorney J. Guthrie True

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 is a founding partner of True Guarnieri Ayer, LLP. He focuses his practice on white collar criminal defense and complex civil litigation, including the litigation of constitutional issues. He has been recognized by his peers as one of the nation’s leading trial lawyers. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a peer-nominated organization consisting of the top one-percent of trial lawyers in each state. He is also a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, a highly selective, peer-nominated organization consisting to the top 500 trial lawyers in the nation.


Much of Guthrie’s practice is devoted to white collar criminal defense. He frequently represents individuals and corporations in federal and state grand jury investigations, and 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 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 criminal and civil cases that are reported in state and national electronic and print media. A small sample of these cases can be found here. He has much experience guiding high profile political, government, and business figures through litigation and the associated media attention.  

Guthrie 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. 

After college Guthrie attended the University of Kentucky College of Law. Upon 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 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 is a Fellow of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers. Guthrie 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. He 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
  • Georgetown College, Georgetown, Kentucky
    • B.S. - 1981
    • Honors: summa cum laude

Bar Admission

  • Kentucky, 1984
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1989
  • 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
  • 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