Richard J. Salem (1947- )

Written By North Carolina History Project

A leading lawyer in the United States, Richard J. Salem employed character, intellect, and integrity in the service to community. Salem was born on March 31, 1947 in North Carolina and graduated cum laude in 1969 from Belmont Abbey with a degree in political science.  In 1972 he graduated from Duke University School of Law.

Although blind, Salem quickly started practicing law, and in 1981 established the Salem Law Group.  Concentrating on structuring business and financial transactions in North America and Europe, Salem’s law firm quickly expanded outside of Tampa, Florida and included four additional offices and approximately 80 attorneys and staff.   Meanwhile, Salem also authored scholarly essays and commentaries regarding disability rights issues, self and community improvement, and the dynamics of politics and leadership.

As a result of Salem’s professional skill and personal reputation and regard, lawmakers and executives in Washington, D.C asked him to provide counsel and lend expert advice.  His contributions to the community include serving on a number of boards and national not-for-profit and educational organizations, such as the National Organization on Disability, headquartered in Washington D.C.; St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee; Duke Law School Board of Visitors in Durham, North Carolina; and the Eye Advisory Council of the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.