Austin S. Payne

Austin S. Payne

[email protected]

Austin joined Griffith and Thornburgh in 2018 after spending the first seven years of his legal career in Nashville, Tennessee.  He works primarily in the firm’s Education Law practice, counseling school district clients through a broad range of issues. Austin has extensive experience representing government agencies from his previous work as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Tennessee and Assistant General Counsel for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.  Prior to law school Austin worked for a U.S. Senator on Capitol Hill, where he focused on healthcare, environmental, and education issues.

Austin grew up in Dallas, Texas and is thrilled to make Santa Barbara his new home.  Austin grew up playing golf and ice hockey and is still a huge fan, though these days he sticks to trail running, hiking, and enjoying the outdoors.


  • Partner, Griffith & Thornburgh, LLP: 2021 – Present
  • Associate, Griffith & Thornburgh, LLP: 2018 – 2021
  • 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 and Open Meetings
  • Administrative Law
  • Civil Litigation


  • 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