J. Key Schoen

J. Key Schoen

Louisville, Kentucky

Key Schoen graduated from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky with a degree in Economics and Psychology. He received a scholarship from the University of Kentucky College of Law, where he received his Law Degree. Mr. Schoen completed additional legal training at the U.S. Judge Advocate School of Law at the University of Virginia.

Key Schoen's first five years of law practice was as a captain in U. S. Army JAG Corp. The first three years were in Germany. He was prosecutor for a year, and then spent the next two years as a trial defense lawyer for Army soldiers. Mr. Schoen believes these two years were the most prolific and satisfying years of his practice as a trial lawyer. Key Schoen had an acquittal rate of almost 70% as a defense counsel.

After moving from Germany, Mr. Schoen spent the next two years representing the U.S. Army on appeals in Washington D.C.. Key regularly argued before the highest courts of the U.S. Military, including oral arguments witnessed by the student body at West Point.

After five years of service as a trial and appellate counsel with the U.S. Army Jag Corp, Key continued his litigation practice with private law firms in Louisville, Kentucky. During Mr. Schoen's practice with private law firms, he handled both civil and criminal litigation. Mr. Schoen's willingness to go to trial in front of a jury, and his willingness to take an issue to the higher Courts of Appeals, is evident from his public record.

Over the last number of years, Mr. Schoen has devoted himself to Trust/Estate litigation and Probate Administration. Again, Mr. Schoen has had many jury trial and appellate successes in this area of the law.

In 2017, Mr. Schoen was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award as "America's Top 100 Attorneys for Kentucky".


Career Highlights

Amos v. Clubb / Clubb v. Amos, Oldham Circuit Court

Countersued for malicious prosecution after defending Will Contest successfully in both Circuit and Appeals Court. Mr. Schoen’s clients settled for over twice the property (and dollar value) they were originally entitled to under the probated Will. 

Amos v. Clubb NO. 2007-CA-001181-MR

Amos v. Clubb NO. 2009-CA-001544-MR

Richardson v. Louisville Metro, 260 S.W. 3d. 777 (KY. 2008)

Mr. Schoen represented a police officer before the Kentucky Supreme Court. The Court ruled unanimously in favor of Mr. Schoen’s client, creating seminal law that established local government’s obligation to provide legal defense to employees sued in civil suits.

Jefferson v. Jefferson Co. Pubic Schools,  Jefferson Circuit Court, Case No. 00-CI-0051

2004 Landmark case against Jefferson County Public Schools resulting in $4.2 million dollar jury verdict. Case involved employment and Kentucky Constitution issues. (See "Lawyers Weekly USA" article, March 29th, 2004 publication)

United States v. Ayala, United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, 43 M.J. 296 (1995) No. 94-0369

Mr. Schoen represented the U.S. Army before the highest Court of Military Appeals in the United States. Mr. Schoen was selected to provide oral arguments to the Court while witnessed by the student body at West Point Military Academy. The Court ruled in favor of Mr. Schoen’s client and the criminal conviction was affirmed.

Bennett v. Ditto, Case No. 2005-CA-001823-MR

Kentucky Court of Appeals published case reversing Meade County Circuit Court ruling.  Mr. Schoen's client prevailed, and established legal precedent for manner of properly signing a Holographic Will (i.e. a Will written by the Testator's own hand).

Areas of Practice

  • Probate & Estate Administration
  • Estate & Trust Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • Kentucky, 1990
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 1995
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Kentucky, 1995
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Kentucky, 1995
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, 1991
  • U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals, 1991


  • University of Kentucky College of Law, Lexington, Kentucky
    • J.D.
  • Centre College, Danville, Kentucky
    • Major: Economics and Psychology

Honors and Awards

  • -2017 Recognized for Lifetime Achievement Award as 'America's Top 100 Attorneys For Kentucky'
  • -Admitted to Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • -The Meritorious Service Medal, U.S. Army
  • -Judge Paul M. Brosman Award, rated highest criminal law student at Judge Advocate Basic Course, 1991
  • -Honor Graduate – Commandant’s List, Judge Advocate Basic Course, 1991
  • -Outstanding Oral Advocate, Moot Court Competition, University of Kentucky College of Law, 1988
  • -Thomas P. Bell Scholarship, University of Kentucky College of Law, 1987 – 1988
  • -Recipient, various Scholarship Awards – Centre College, 1983 – 1985