Sturgill Turner Co-Founder Inducted into UK Law Hall of Fame


Sturgill, Turner, Barker & Moloney, PLLC is pleased to announce that one of its founding members, Don S. Sturgill, has been inducted into the University of Kentucky College of Law Alumni Hall of Fame. The highest honor bestowed by the UK Law Alumni Association, the UK Law Hall of Fame acknowledges graduates of the college whose extraordinary professional success and contributions, profound positive influence on the College of Law, and high degree of character and integrity are recognized by their peers.


Don graduated from Harvard in 1950 and served as a second lieutenant in the Air Force before graduating from the UK College of Law in 1955. He practiced law in his hometown of Lexington until his death in 2002.


Don loved Kentucky and early in his legal career, at the age of 28, he was named Kentucky’s first Commissioner of Public Safety by Governor Happy Chandler. Under Don’s leadership, the state adopted the license point system, which was credited as a major factor in the reduction of traffic-related deaths. He also worked tirelessly to strengthen and modernize Kentucky law enforcement and the Kentucky State Police, increasing trooper pay and benefits, bolstering the force, and securing funding for a State Police Academy and Criminal and Photographic Laboratory.


After Gov. Chandler’s term ended, Don focused on building his law firm, which is now in its 62nd year. That is, until he got the call to join the national presidential campaign staff of then-Senators John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson in Washington, D.C., an opportunity made possible by the friendship he forged with Bobby Kennedy while he was at Harvard.


Don used his background as a thoroughbred owner and breeder and his passion for the sport to become one of the nation’s foremost equine attorneys. During his career, he not only represented great thoroughbred farms like Spendthrift and owners like Allen Paulson and William DuPont, but he also represented trainers and backstretch personnel as general counsel for the National and Kentucky HBPA. Don was instrumental in getting simulcast revenues distributed to horsemen while the technology was still emerging and he was instrumental in the syndication of about 75 thoroughbred stallions, including Triple Crown winners Seattle Slew and Affirmed. Don enjoyed sharing his knowledge of equine law. He was a co-founder of and regular presenter at UK’s National Equine Law Conference and an initial director of the American College of Equine Attorneys.


Don received many awards and honors, including the 1957 Kentucky Man of the Year by the Louisville Courier-Journal, the 2000 Fayette County Bar Association Henry T. Duncan Award, and induction into the American College of Equine Attorneys Hall of Fame in 2015.

Don, as well as the other recipients of the UK College of Law Alumni Awards, were honored at a ceremony held in conjunction with the Kentucky Bar Association Annual Convention. Ann Sturgill, Don’s wife and long-time law partner, and several members, alumni and other representatives of the firm were present for the awards ceremony and reception. Former Sturgill Turner managing member, Phil Moloney, accepted the Hall of Fame award and made a statement on behalf of Don, Ann, and the firm.

Lauren ParsonsNews