Print PDF News

Irell Elects Two New Partners


Irell & Manella LLP announces the election of Stephen Payne and Charlotte Wen to the firm’s partnership, effective January 1, 2024. Both Payne and Wen are experienced trial lawyers focused on intellectual property and complex commercial litigation. Payne is based in Irell’s Newport Beach office, and Wen is based in Los Angeles.

“We couldn’t be more proud to welcome Stephen and Charlotte to the firm’s partnership,” said Jonathan Kagan, an Irell partner. “In addition to being amazing human beings, both are excellent lawyers who have served as key members of trial teams that secured some of our firm’s most significant victories over the last few years.”

Payne has extensive trial experience, including five recent federal jury trials that resulted in over $800 million in verdicts for clients. He also litigates matters on appeal and has challenged and defended district court and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rulings in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Payne earned his J.D., with highest honors, in 2015 from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif and served as comments editor for The University of Chicago Law Review. He obtained his B.A., summa cum laude, in Political Science in 2012 from the University of Notre Dame. Prior to joining Irell, Payne clerked for the Hon. Sandra S. Ikuta of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Payne has been recognized on the list of “Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch” every year since 2021.

Wen also has significant trial experience. She has been a core member of trial teams that obtained some of the firm’s highest profile wins, helping secure nine- and 10-figure jury awards that total over $3.5 billion.  She also has an active appellate and pro bono practice.

Wen serves on the planning committee for the USC Intellectual Property Institute, and is a member of the Judge Paul R. Michel Intellectual Property American Inn of Court. In 2023, she was selected as a Fellow by the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), a year-long program designed for high-potential, mid-career attorneys with demonstrated leadership skills, community engagement and a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Wen previously completed LCLD’s Pathfinder program in 2019. She was also a member of the planning committee for the 2022 California Minority Counsel Program’s Women of Color conference.

Wen earned her J.D. in 2016 from the USC Gould School of Law, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif and awarded the Arthur Manella Prize. While in law school, she served on the executive board of the Southern California Law Review. She obtained her B.A., cum laude, in History in 2011 from Mount Holyoke College.

In 2023, Wen was recognized as one of four Law360 “Technology Rising Stars,” and was named to the 2024 list of “Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch.”

Jump to Page