Steve Payne began his tenure as Dean of the Columbus School of Law and Knights of Columbus Professor of Law on July 1, 2019. He had been a partner and the Chair of the FDA and Health Care practice group at the global law firm, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, where his practice focused on regulatory compliance, investigations, and enforcement litigation, and an adjunct professor at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, where he taught FDA Regulation and Health Law & Policy. Prior to that, Dean Payne had practiced at Sidley Austin LLP as a partner and associate in the Washington, D.C. office, and had previously served as a Captain in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps at the U.S.Army Infantry Center at Fort Benning, Georgia. As a JAG officer, Dean Payne served as a legal assistance attorney for a year and then as a prosecutor for three years, both as the installation’s Senior Trial Counsel for courts-martial and as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for felony-level crimes in the Middle District of Georgia, during which time he successfully tried, as lead counsel, both civilian and military bench and jury trials.
Admitted to the bar in both the District of Columbia and State of New York, Dean Payne has received the highest rating of “Leading” from the Practical Law Company in the category of Life Sciences: Government Enforcement and Investigations; has been named a “Life Sciences Star” by the legal guide LMG Life Sciences; and was ranked in 2019 as a “Litigation Star” in Washington, D.C., by Benchmark Litigation.
Dean Payne holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics and a Prize Finalist in the Thomas Swann Barristers’ Union Mock Trial Competition. He also graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, where he finished first in his class. Dean Payne was named the Distinguished Graduate of his U.S. Army JAG School class, and, later, the Best Advocate of his Criminal Law Advocacy Course at the JAG School.
Dean Payne is married and has two children. He serves on the board of Oakcrest School, an independent school for girls in grades 6-12, and participated in Oakcrest’s recent project to build and open a new campus for the 43-year-old school in Vienna, Va. He has also been active with youth baseball, having served on the boards of, and coached for, both his local travel baseball organization and Little League, for which he has been a two-time coach of the year. Dean Payne has done pro bono legal work for veterans, the elderly, and the disabled, and is currently teaching Conflict of Laws.