The following bio is that of an event speaker or guest author. This person is not directly affiliated with the John Locke Foundation.

Ruth Sheehan was an award-winning newspaper reporter and columnist for almost 20 years before going to law school. As a journalist at The News & Observer of Raleigh, Ms. Sheehan fought hard for the underdogs of the community, getting several people out of jail, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for good causes and inspiring significant changes in state law. Now Ms. Sheehan brings that passion and tenacity to her representation of her clients, most of whom are working people who have been injured and simply wish to be made whole for their pain and suffering.

Ms. Sheehan specializes in the areas of personal injury, wrongful death, and employment law. She also has a keen interest in eminent domain, representing landowners whose land is being taken or condemned for public use. She believes every property owner should be represented to ensure he or she is properly compensated, and to protect his or her rights in the years and decades ahead.

Ms. Sheehan is a native of Milwaukee, and graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in journalism and history. She married a native North Carolinian, former N.C. Labor Commissioner Harry E. Payne Jr., and never looked North again. Ms. Sheehan and Mr. Payne have three sons. Ms. Sheehan earned her law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law, and is a member of the Wake County and North Carolina Bar Associations.

Ms. Sheehan was also recently elected to the Board of Governors for the North Carolina Advocates for Justice. She serves on the boards of North Carolina Health News and the North Carolina Newsroom Cooperative. She and her family have been involved with ministries to the homeless through the Wake Interfaith Hospitality Network and the Helen Wright Center for Women, where Ms. Sheehan’s family has volunteered monthly for more than 17 years. The family is also proud to have launched an organization called Boss It Back, which seeks to raise awareness of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and other mental health issues.