Tom Payne

Of Counsel

How I represent clients at Schwabe

I help employers respond to thorny HR issues, take action on strategic opportunities and risks, and litigate the issues that go to the heart of your business. Drawing on my experience as an in-house employment attorney, I cut to the business realities behind technical and complex employment law questions. From day-to-day advice to high-stakes employment litigation, I work with your business to help your goals become reality. In addition to my core employment practice, I also work with businesses on regulatory compliance issues, general litigation, and appellate litigation.

Prior to joining Schwabe, I was a law clerk for Magistrate Judge John V. Acosta in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. My clerkship experience helps me to advocate strategically and effectively for my clients. 

I was an executive editor of the Lewis & Clark Law Review and a member of the Jessup International Law moot court team during law school. Before attending law school, I was an elementary special education teacher in Arizona.


  • Represents companies with large commissioned workforces on various matters including compensation plans, disputes, and termination pay.
  • Represents and advises employers in employment disputes, from pre-filing resolutions to trial and appeal
  • Represents employers in administrative (EEOC, BOLI, WSHRC) complaints and investigations into discrimination and wage-and-hour investigations
  • Drafts employment policies and handbooks for large and small employers in multiple industries
  • Advises employers on compliance with state and federal employment and wage-and-hour laws


  • Lewis & Clark, Law School, Juris Doctor (2016)
  • University of Portland, Bachelor of Arts, Elementary Education (2011)


  • Oregon State Courts
  • Washington State Courts
  • U.S. District Court - District of Oregon
  • U.S. District Court - District of Western Washington
  • United States Court of Appeals


  • Federal Bar Association, Oregon Chapter, Board of Directors (2018-present)
  • Oregon Women Lawyers, Working Parents Committee
  • Multnomah Bar Association, Young Lawyers Section, Membership Committee Member (2017-2019)


  • Lewis & Clark Law School, 1L Mentor of the Year (2018)
  • Lewis & Clark Law School, Cornelius Honor Society (2016)

Community Activities

  • Integrative Trauma Treatment International, Board Treasurer (2019-2021)
  • Lewis & Clark Law School, Mentor (2017-present)
  • Multnomah Bar Association Imprint Program, Mentor (2016)
  • Wilson High School Constitution Team, Coach (2015-2016)

Outside Interests

Running, rock climbing, cooking, and being outdoors with my family.

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