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Guilford F. "Gif" Thornton Jr.

Managing Partner

I represent clients at the intersection of business and government, focused on designing outcomes that align exactly with our clients’ priorities. All of Adams and Reese’s state government relations practices operate this way – each lawyer and lobbyist is laser-focused on exceeding our clients’ expectations.

Clients call Gif Thornton when they have an opportunity or problem related to Tennessee state government. Whether the General Assembly, the executive branch or administrative agencies, Gif is widely known as a Tennessee lawyer who counsels strategically with clients to craft solutions that advance their interests. Gif represents businesses, associations and governmental entities, including the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. His industry experience includes education, utilities, healthcare, insurance, transportation and communications.

If a client needs a change in the law, has a new product to launch or a project that needs to comply with Tennessee regulations, the decades-long relationships that Gif has with the State’s leaders – Republican and Democrat – make a difference in whether the client can proceed with its business plans and dreams. With a career spanning over 30 years, he has seen every political climate imaginable. In representing the City of Nashville in its bold transportation solution, he worked closely with both the Mayor and the Governor. He represented the Tennessee Bar Association in the successful effort to codify a merit-based system of electing appellate court judges in the State Constitution.

Since 2015, Gif has served as Managing Partner for Adams and Reese. He challenges his partners on a daily basis to reach higher standards of excellence every day, manifested in exceptional client service and mutually successful long-term relationships. His vision is for Adams and Reese to fill the roles of zealous advocates and counselors, whether on their most important litigation or a game-changing transaction.

Every day our lawyers are handling transactions that redefine companies, navigating the treacherous waters of government regulation, or litigating matters that can make or break a company. We make it our business to understand clients’ businesses, pressures and priorities.


  • Vanderbilt University School of Law, J.D., 1990
  • Vanderbilt University, B.S., 1984

Bar Admissions

  • Tennessee


  • AV® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Best Lawyers® Lawyer of the Year – Government Relations, 2014
  • Best Lawyers® - Education Law, Government Relations, Health Care Law, Insurance Law
  • Mid-South Super Lawyers® (by Thomson Reuters) Government Relations 2006, 2015-2018
  • Business TN® - Best 150 Lawyers in Tennessee - 2010
  • 101 Top Lawyers - Nashville Post
  • Nashville Post "In Charge," 2010-2017
  • Best of the Bar - Nashville Business Journal - 2013-2017
  • Pro Bono "Attorney For Justice" - Tennessee Supreme Court, 2014

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

  • Nashville Bar Association
  • Tennessee Bar Association
  • Tennessee Lobbyists Association
  • Nashville Chamber of Commerce
  • Andrew Jackson Foundation, Board Member
  • Christ Presbyterian Church, Elder
  • Covenant Theological Seminary, Board Member