Austin S. Payne

Austin S. Payne

Austin joined Griffith and Thornburgh in 2018 after spending the first seven years of his legal career in Nashville, Tennessee. Formerly an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Tennessee, Austin litigated cases against some of the largest companies in the world. He has experience in a wide variety of legal areas including government fraud, false claims, open records, non-profit regulation, environmental compliance, and administrative law. Before working with the Attorney General, Austin was an Assistant General Counsel for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, where he counseled his clients through all types of environmental matters.Prior to law school, Austin was a Legislative Correspondent for U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander in Washington, D.C., where he focused on healthcare, energy, environmental, and education issues. Austin received his law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School and his undergraduate degree from Southern Methodist University.

Austin grew up in Dallas, Texas, and while most of his life was spent in the South, he is excited to be in Santa Barbara where he is closer to his brother and sister. In his free time, Austin enjoys playing ice hockey, golf, and trail running.


  • Associate, Griffith and Thornburgh, LLP: 2018 – Present
  • Assistant Attorney General, State of Tennessee: 2015 – 2017
  • Assistant General Counsel, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation: 2010 – 2015
  • Legislative Correspondent, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander: 2006-2007

Practice Areas

  • Education Law
  • Public Records
  • Administrative Law
  • Environmental Law


  • Tennessee State Bar, 2010 – Present
  • California State Bar, 2018 – Present


  • Vanderbilt University Law School, J.D., 2010
  • Southern Methodist University, B.A. Journalism, magna cum laude, 2006