​​​​James E. Payne, a native of Port Arthur, Texas, graduated with honors from the University of Houston in 1989 with a B.S. in Political Science. James worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC for Congressman William Lehman. Following his time in Washington, James earned his law degree from the University of Houston and was admitted to the bar in 1993. While attending law school, he received several awards and honors, including selection to the Order of Barrister. He is licensed to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals; State of Texas U.S. District Courts of the Eastern and Southern Districts of Texas. 

In 1995, James moved back to Jefferson County and began working with Provost & Umphrey Law Firm L.L.P., specializing in Personal Injury and Products Liability. Other areas of practice include: Industrial Work Site Accidents, Automobile Accident, Premises Liability. 

In 1997, James became a partner with Provost Umphrey, L.L.P. In 2000, James became a Senior Partner with the firm. James was certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1999. The National Board of Trial Advocacy certified him in 2001 as a Certified Civil Trial Advocate. 

In 2003-2015, James was selected for Texas Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters Business, which represents only 5 percent of the lawyers in the state.  He recently became a certified member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.  He is a member of the State Bar of Texas, College of the State Bar of Texas; Board of Directors, American Association for Justice; Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Texas Young Lawyers Association, and Jefferson County Bar Association. 

James is very active in several social and civic organizations. He is a life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity (also known as the Boule). James served as Grand Sire Archon (National President) from 2012 – 2014 for the Boule. James developed the nationally-recognized Buy 90 Campaign that was designed to economically empower the African American community in Southeast Texas. Mr. Payne is sought after as a motivational speaker by many organizations, schools and churches.  He recently wrote a book, "I am Healed, but I am Still Sick?" and serves as the Young Adult Minister at his home church, Cathedral of Faith Baptist Church.  James has been married to his wife, Tracie, for 20 years and they have 3 teenage children, Caleb, Joshua, and Taryn.