Ronald K. Payne was educated in the public schools of Buncombe County. He graduated from N.C. State University with a B.A. in Economics with honors in 1974. He then received his J.D. in 1977 from the Wake Forest University School of Law. Upon admission to the bar in 1977, he engaged in the private practice of law in Asheville, concentrating primarily in civil litigation. In 1995 he was appointed by Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. as Resident Superior Court Judge for the 28th Judicial District. He won election in 1996 and re-election in 2004. Ron retired as a Judge at the end of 2008 and returned to the private practice of law. His practice is primarily based in civil litigation with an emphasis on eminent domain, business litigation, personal injury, and professional negligence.

Practice Areas

Awards & Honors

  • Selected in 2002 by N.C Advocates for Justices as the Outstanding Trial judge in N.C.
  • Speaker at N.C. Conference of Superior Court Judges and N.C. Advocates for Justice
  • Honored with the North Carolina Bar Association’s Citizen Lawyer Award, 2023.


  • Wake Forest University — Juris Doctor
  • North Carolina State University — B.A. with honors (Economics)

Professional Affiliations

  • North Carolina Bar Association
  • North Carolina State Bar
  • Buncombe County Bar
  • North Carolina Advocates for Justice
  • Former Member of North Carolina Supreme Court Judges

Community Involvement

  • Member of Central United Methodist Church
  • Emeritus member of CVM Administrative board
  • Member Royal Brigade of Guards
  • Former Little League & Senior Babe Ruth League Baseball Coach
  • Former YMCA Youth Basketball Coach
  • Former Board Member of WNC Nature Center
  • Former Chairman of Buncombe County Democratic Party
  • Created the Adult Drug Treatment Court of Buncombe County

In his free time, Ron enjoys spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren; watching college sports; fishing; and spending time at the beach.