Stephen C. Payne Appointed as New Law School Dean


By Duane Paul Murphy

Courtesy of the Catholic University of America

Stephen C. Payne will become the next dean of the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, to succeed interim dean Regina T. Jefferson. According to a public statement issued on April 1st, published online and sent through email from the university’s Office of Marketing and Communications, Payne was appointed by university President John Garvey. Jefferson, who will likely remain as full-time faculty, succeeded former dean Daniel F. Attridge in 2018, after his resignation to become full-time academic faculty within the university’s law school.

Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Payne received his undergraduate degree from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University in 1993. Payne graduated first in his class. While studying at Yale Law School between 1993 and 1996, Payne was a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics and a Thomas Swann Barristers Union Prize finalist.

After graduating from Yale Law School, Payne was named the distinguished graduate of his class at the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) School and then served as a military captain in the United States Army JAG Corps at Fort Benning, Georgia. During his time in the military, Payne occupied as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office within the Federal Department of Justice as well as the U.S. Army.

After his military service ended in 2000, Payne became a legal partner at Sidley Austin LLP, a private global law firm headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. While at Sidley Austin, Payne primarily focused on domestic FDA and healthcare compliance & enforcement laws and regulations. In 2011, after 11 years at Sidley Austin, Payne became legal partner and eventually chairperson of FDA and healthcare practice group at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, another global private law firm headquartered in Los Angeles, CA.

While Payne has a longtime career in the legal private sector, Payne also gain experiences in the world of education. In 2017, Payne became an adjunct professor at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University in Northern Virginia. Since 2016, Payne has been a board member of Oakcrest School, an independent school for girls in Vienna, Virginia.

Payne lives with his wife and two children in Virginia. His daughter Mary Payne, a freshman undergraduate at Catholic University, expressed positive sentiments for her father’s new position on campus.

“I’m really excited to see the law school grow and flourish under the guidance of my dad,” Payne said. “He’s my role model, and I’m so happy and excited for him to experience all that Catholic has to offer.”

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