True Guarnieri Ayer, LLP | Attorneys At Law


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Philip C. Lawson

  • Partner

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Practice Areas:

  • Federal Criminal Defense
  • State Law Criminal Defense
  • Civil Litigation
  • Personal Injury


Philip Coleman Lawson was born in Pineville, Kentucky. Both his parents, William and Susan Lawson, practiced law in southeast Kentucky. He attended high school at The McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Thereafter, he attended Centre College in Danville, Kentucky.

At Centre, he was a member of the Varsity Baseball and Golf Teams. He was an active member of his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon. During the summer before his senior year, Philip interned for former United States Representative, A.B. ("Ben") Chandler, III in his Washington, D.C. office. During the internship, Philip drafted legislation, prepared and participated in presentations to Congressman Chandler and other interested parties regarding proposed legislation, and worked alongside office staff regarding constituent services. He also met his now wife, and law partner, Whitney True Lawson, during this internship. 

The experience convinced Philip, and his future wife Whitney, to pursue a legal career. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History with a minor in Government, Philip enrolled at the University of Louisville, Brandeis School of Law. While at UofL, Philip was an active member of the Moot Court Board and UofL's Kentucky Intrastate Mock Trial Team. Philip also clerked for a mid-size firm in Louisville, Kentucky and former Chief Judge Hon. Sara W. Combs of the Kentucky Court of Appeals in Frankfort, Kentucky.

After law school, Philip moved to Frankfort, Kentucky with Whitney to became a Trial Attorney with the Department of Public Advocacy in the Frankfort, Kentucky office. At the DPA, Philip represented hundreds of clients in over a thousand cases ranging from minor traffic infractions and DUI's in District Court to serious felonies in Circuit Court. Philip also represented clients in Juvenile Court and Family Court.

Two years later, Philip joined a large statewide firm in Lexington, Kentucky where he continued to practice state law criminal defense. He also expanded his practice to include insurance defense, federal criminal defense, personal injury, and complex civil litigation.

In 2017, Philip joined Whitney and his father-in-law, J. Guthrie True, at True Guarnieri Ayer, LLP in Frankfort, Kentucky. He was named partner two years later in 2019. Philip continues to represent clients in state law criminal defense, federal criminal defense, personal injury, family law, and complex civil litigation in Frankfort, Kentucky and throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky. 

Also since 2020, Philip has represented the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (KACDL) as its legislative agent before the General Assembly. As KACDL’s lobbyist, Philip tracks all proposed legislation involving the criminal justice system. He regularly meets and corresponds with members of both the House and Senate regarding legislative issues. The work also entails drafting, revising, or commenting upon legislation when necessary. 

Outside the office, Philip enjoys golf, duck hunting, University of Kentucky athletics, and Cincinnati Reds baseball. Furthermore, he enjoys watching his young son, Henry, play several competitive sports including basketball, baseball, wrestling, and golf.  


  • Louis D. Brandeis School of Law, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky
  • Centre College, Danville, Kentucky

Bar Admission

  • Kentucky
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Kentucky
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Kentucky
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit


  • Rising Star – Super Lawyers – General Litigation
  • Ones to Watch - Best Lawyers
  • Top 40 Under 40 - Criminal Defense - National Trial Lawyers Association

Pro-Bono Activities

  • Lexington Humane Society, Past Member and Secretary of Executive Committee
  • Central Kentucky American Inn of Court, Member
  • First United Methodist Church, Frankfort, Kentucky – Member, Endowment Committee

Past Positions

  • McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC, Associate
  • Department of Public Advocacy, Trial Attorney
  • Landrum & Shouse, L.L.P., Law Clerk
  • Kentucky Court of Appeals, Law Clerk


  • English

Fraternities or Sororities

  • Sigma Alpha Epsilon

Professional Associations

  • Kentucky Bar Association, Member
  • Fayette County Bar Association, Member
  • Franklin County Bar Association, Member
  • Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Member
  • Kentucky Justice Association, Member
  • Kentucky Defense Counsel, Member