Stephen Payne, incoming dean of Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law 

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner Stephen Payne will serve as dean of Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C., beginning July 1, according to the school.

Payne is chair of Gibson Dunn’s Food and Drug Administration and health care practice group and has taught law and policy related to his practice as an adjunct at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School in Northern Virginia.

“Steve Payne’s career is impressive in all of the ways that mattered most in our search for a new dean of Columbus School of law—from his clear regard for the power of education, as demonstrated in both his own academic achievements and his work as an adjunct professor, to his service to his country and community,” said John Garvey, Catholic University president, in a statement.

“His experience in building and leading a multidisciplinary legal practice at a global law firm, as well as his success in identifying, recruiting, and promoting talent for several diverse organizations, made Steve the ideal choice to lead the school in preparing the legal leaders of the future,” Garvey added.

Payne takes over from interim dean Regina Jefferson, who occupied the position after Daniel Attridge, a Kirkland & Ellis of counsel, stepped down last July.

After graduating from Cornell University and Yale Law School, Payne served as captain in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was also a federal prosecutor, serving as a special assistant U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.

He spent the last two decades in Big Law, joining Sidley Austin in D.C. and making partner there in 2004. He spent 11 years at Sidley before moving to Gibson Dunn in 2011.

Upon learning of his selection, Catholic University said Payne exclaimed, “Providence is wondrous.”

“I have enjoyed teaching law students, but I never thought I would have the opportunity and honor to join this special community of faculty, staff, students, and alumni,” Payne said in a statement. “I am so grateful for this opportunity and, with the community’s prayers, hope to become worthy of what is being entrusted to me.”

Gibson Dunn had no immediate comment on Payne’s move.